Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence..

Why are Leftists always talking about hate? Because it fills their own hearts  

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31 March, 2010

Enemies of the state: Administration smears some opponents, arrests others

During President George W. Bush's two terms, you couldn't drive far without seeing a particular bumper sticker: "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism." Now that Democrats control the White House and Congress, the left treats dissent as the lowest form of treason. When the left agitates over government policies, it's considered righteous anger. When the right - and much of the center - agitate, it's painted as the rantings of the criminally and violently insane.

With Obamacare signed into law, Democrats have stopped congratulating themselves long enough to notice that the American people aren't cheering on the sidelines. According to a CNN poll released last week, 58 percent oppose President Obama's handling of Obamacare, while Gallup shows him this week with a 46 percent job approval, his lowest yet. A CBS poll released after the House of Representatives passed Obamacare showed Speaker Nancy Pelosi's favorable rating at 11 percent and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's at 8 percent, higher only than Beelzebub's.

Aware that their "reform" is rejected by most of the American people and that they will face serious consequences in November, the Democrats have decided that the best defense is a good offense: Attack those who oppose Obamacare. It doesn't seem to bother most Democrats that that pernicious strategy puts them in the weird and politically untenable position of attacking most of the American people.

Over the past week, a parade of Democrats have accused members of the Tea Party movement and other opponents of Obamacare of threatening them. There may be an infinitesimal number of looney tunes who have engaged in that kind of unacceptable behavior out of hundreds of millions of Americans. But the Democrats have dishonestly extrapolated from a few claimed incidents to taint all those who reject Obamacare as wild-eyed wackos.

If this sounds familiar, it's because the Democrats have shown a disturbing pattern of demonizing those who disagree with them. A year ago, Mr. Obama's Department of Homeland Security issued a report for law enforcement called "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment." It suggested that anyone who opposed abortion, illegal immigration and oppressive taxes, supported gun rights or served in Iraq and Afghanistan should be singled out for special attention. Why? Because such people might burst into a spasm of violence at any time. There was no mention of being on the lookout for potential violence committed by Islamic jihadists, even after actual acts of violence committed by an Islamic jihadist in Little Rock. (The Fort Hood shooting happened later.)

In other words, if you go to church, believe in protecting innocent life, own a gun or defend your country, the Democrats consider you a potential enemy of the state. It was no coincidence that the Homeland Security report was issued just as the Tea Party movement was gaining real national traction.

Not surprisingly, then, once they had passed their widely unpopular health care bill, the Democrats moved quickly to delegitimize opposition to it. Their defiant move in the face of overwhelming popular resistance gave them another excuse to equate big-government progressives with good patriots and small government advocates with potentially violent nutcases who must be watched.

As if on cue, this week, Homeland Security, the FBI and the Department of Justice's Joint Terrorism Task Force carried out raids against a purported "Christian militia group" in the Midwest. According to reports, nine people have been charged with plotting to kill police officers with "weapons of mass destruction." The indictment describes the group as an "anti-government extremist organization" and the FBI special agent in charge, Andrew Arena, cast it as "radical and fringe." That may be, but the description has a conveniently familiar ring to it.

Interestingly, the head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Dawud Walid, rushed to announce the raids at a CAIR banquet at about the same time the story became public. "We salute the FBI for breaking up a militia that was seeking to harm American Muslims," he said. It's curious that he would know that at a time when the FBI still had the investigation under seal. (We're still waiting to hear why Homeland Security and the FBI chose to use the descriptive word "Christian" when they seem unable to use the word "Muslim" in connection with Islamic extremism.)

It's mind-blowingly coincidental that these raids on a supposedly "Christian" militia group would come at the exact moment that Democrats were trying to change public opinion on Obamacare by claiming persecution by their opponents. They have cast Tea Partiers, conservatives, independents, Christians and militia members as all cut from the same unstable, volatile cloth. How can anyone take their opposition to the Democrats' agenda seriously when they're toting guns and being raided by Homeland Security and the FBI? They're all nuts, don't you know?

The Democrats handle dissent by isolating it, smearing it and delegitimizing it in order to crush it. The warning should be clear: If you have small-government, traditional values, you may be considered by your own leadership to be an enemy of the state.



United States of Argentina

When White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel last year advised "never waste a good crisis," he likely was thinking ahead to President Obama's economic stimulus program and health care plan. After swelling the federal deficit by passing the stimulus at a cost of nearly $1 trillion, Democrats in Congress signed off on Obamacare, with a price tag, according to Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., of $2.3 trillion in its first decade alone. With federal spending exploding at such a rate, it's no wonder that Moody's Investor Service recently warned that it would downgrade the U.S. government's credit rating if it concludes "the government was unable and/or unwilling to quickly reverse the deterioration it has incurred."

What the United States government will do in the future may be in question, but we need not look far to find past examples of countries unwilling to get their finances in order. Consider Argentina. In 1914, it was one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and its living standard exceeded that of Western Europe until the late 1950s. Then President Juan Peron squandered his nation's prosperity by introducing a host of redistributionist economic and regulatory policies, nationalizing utilities and foreign investments, and pumping up the national debt. What followed was three decades of political instability, growing dependency, and economic stagnation.

There was a brief period of privatization and booming foreign investment in what the American Enterprise Institute's Mark Falcoff called Argentina's "go go" 1990s. But that was negated by the return of political leaders espousing Peronist principles who created a downward economic spiral by breaking contracts with foreign utility companies that had invested heavily in Argentina. Today, the country has lost its international credit standing and an estimated 10 percent of the population has moved abroad to escape the stifling taxes, regulation and inefficiency. To make matters worse, President Cristina Kirchner recently attracted attention for firing the president of the country's central bank. His sin was refusing to go along with her inflationary spending policies (Argentina's inflation is 17 percent) and challenging her demand that he hand over $6.6 billion in bank reserves.

Besides sending federal spending skyrocketing, Obama has, like so many of the politicians who ruined Argentina, dramatically increased government regulation of business, nationalized major sectors of the economy, and imposed a lengthy list of tax increases. America today is no more exempt from economic reality than Argentina was in years past. Make no mistake, these actions will eventually drain the life from this nation's economic vitality, just as they did in Argentina.



The welfare system penalizes efforts to get ahead

Until you earn about $40,000 a year, you’re pretty much stuck in poverty, an economist’s numbers show. In fact, until you get past $40,000 a year, any raise or higher paying job you get might actually sink you deeper into poverty. Take a look at this story from economist Jeff Liebman, who now works in the Obama Administration:

The poverty trap is still very much a reality in the U.S.

A woman called me out of the blue last week and told me her self-sufficiency counselor had suggested she get in touch with me. She had moved from a $25,000 a year job to a $35,000 a year job, and suddenly she couldn’t make ends meet any more. I told her I didn’t know what I could do for her, but agreed to meet with her. She showed me all her pay stubs, etc. She really did come out behind by several hundred dollars a month. She lost free health insurance and instead had to pay $230 a month for her employer-provided health insurance. Her rent associated with her section 8 voucher went up by 30% of the income gain (which is the rule). She lost the ($280 a month) subsidized child care voucher she had for after-school care for her child. She lost around $1600 a year of the EITC. She paid payroll tax on the additional income. Finally, the new job was in Boston, and she lived in a suburb. So now she has $300 a month of additional gas and parking charges. She asked me if she should go back to earning $25,000.

Take a look at this chart by economist Clifford Thies, via Greg Mankiw’s blog.

From the green dot, you can see that earned income rises… for a while. Then there’s this screwy wavy line. That’s the mother making a little more, but earning a little less.

$40,000 a year is about $19 an hour. Over 40 percent of Chicagoans don’t earn that much.

There aren’t that many jobs out there that make $19 an hour. Bank Teller? $13.33 an hour. Office clerk? $15.60. Retail salesperson? $11.80. Security guard? $16.14. (Statistics via Chicago Rehab network).

Our tax incentives work… initially. Then they only serve to hurt people. They say the poor don’t work hard enough, but that single mother sounds like a pretty hard working person to me. The story goes on to say that she got a weekend job, to try to make ends meet. Except after childcare and gas, it didn’t help at all.

So if working harder means people might actually earn less, how is it that we expect people to work harder?



BrookesNews Update

Obama's road to economic ruin : Obama's monstrous health bill needs to seen as part of a comprehensive attack on the US economy. Therefore the markets are also examining Obama's tax policies, regulatory proposals, insane views on energy production and pricing plus his borrowing and spending programs. But it is not just the financial side that is considered, there are also the political aspects. And they ain't pretty
Paul Krugman's Keynesian views: more snake oil : According to Krugman saving is 'a bad thing'. In fact, the more Americans save the worse the economy will be. But if Krugman were right then those countries with very high savings ratios would be permanently depressed while countries with no savings would be booming. Yet statistics show that it was those countries with the highest savings rates that had the highest growth rates
U.S. government, on its way to bankruptcy, part 2 : The U.S. government is out of control, a government that has committed to obligations so big, that unless policies change, it will literally bankrupt the United States and create mass poverty
The Democrats' anti-tax lunacy : The Democrats' opposition to tax cuts borders on the hysterical. Apart from their insincerity (the only kinds of tax increases they support are those their fabulously super rich supporters can easily avoid) there is the utter bankruptcy of their so-called economic arguments
Obamacare: the other tax shoes begin to drop : Obama's brilliant healthcare legislation is a job killer that will cause taxes and costs to leap. It will stunt economic growth and worsen the economic downturn by making too costly to hire people while simultaneously providing financial incentives to sack a number of employees. Well done, Obama!
Banned in Britain for "Hate Speech" - Unless You're the Daughter Of a Mass Murderer : Britain's Labour Government recently celebrated 50 years Castro's dictatorship, including mass torture, murder, slave camps, drug running and terrorism. To stress its support for the sadistic Castro it invited Che Guevara's daughter to the celebrations. She in turn praised her father's vicious crimes and his sadism
Sabotaging the US-Israel relationship : The leftwing mainstream media is lying again about Israel. These politically motivated liars mislead viewers and readers by failing to provide the full historical context and demographic projections for Israel's capital and the so-called settlements



Medical society files lawsuit to block ObamaCare: "With the president’s ink barely dry on the health care overhaul’s final fixes, a group of nearly 5,000 American physicians is filing suit to stop the mammoth new law dead in its tracks. ‘I think this bill that passed threatens not only to destroy our freedom in medicine but to bankrupt the country,’ said Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. The Arizona-based medical coalition filed suit on March 26, arguing that congressional reforms illegally coerce individuals into buying insurance from private companies.”

Obama regime to permit oil exploration off Virginia coast : "President Barack Obama is to announce on Wednesday a plan to permit exploration for oil and natural gas off the coast of Virginia as a way to create jobs and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Obama, who wants Congress to move a stalled climate change bill, has sought to reach out to Republicans by signaling he is open to allowing offshore drilling, providing coastlines are protected.”

The rich can’t pay for ObamaCare: "President Barack Obama’s new health-care legislation aims to raise $210 billion over 10 years to pay for the extensive new entitlements. How? By slapping a 3.8% ‘Medicare tax’ on interest and rental income, dividends and capital gains of couples earning more than $250,000, or singles with more than $200,000. The president also hopes to raise $364 billion over 10 years from the same taxpayers by raising the top two tax rates to 36%-39.6% from 33%-35%, plus another $105 billion by raising the tax on dividends and capital gains to 20% from 15%, and another $500 billion by capping and phasing out exemptions and deductions. Add it up and the government is counting on squeezing an extra $1.2 trillion over 10 years from a tiny sliver of taxpayers who already pay more than half of all individual taxes. It won’t work. It never works.”

A new economics?: "You probably missed it. But a new school of economics was unveiled last week shortly after health care reform passed the House of Representatives. Speaker Nancy Pelosi stepped to the podium in the House chamber and said the legislation will ‘unleash tremendous entrepreneurial power’ and create millions of jobs. ‘Our economy needs something new, a jolt,’ she said. And she and her Democratic colleagues had just delivered it.”

Obamacare starts squeezing the private sector: "The news on healthcare reform this week is that right off the bat, the major corporations are discovering they will be losing stunning amounts to taxes as a result of Obamacare. Caterpillar, the first to speak out, reported it will take a one-time write-down of $100 million in order to account for the elimination of a federal tax refund it has been receiving for providing drug benefits to its retired employees. In the following days, AT&T, Verizon, 3M, Deer & Co., and AK Steel Holdings announced they would take similar write downs. AT&T’s new tax bill will come to over $1 billion. The news is a body blow to major companies hoping to recover profitability and add jobs. If all this sounds familiar, it should. It is exactly what Republicans predicted would happen if Obamacare became law.”

CIA says ACLU-backed plan endangered Gitmo officers: "A team of CIA counterintelligence officials recently visited the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and concluded that CIA interrogators face the risk of exposure to al Qaeda through inmates' contacts with defense attorneys, according to U.S. officials. The agency's "tiger team" of security specialists was dispatched as part of an ongoing investigation conducted jointly with the Justice Department into a program backed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The program, called the John Adams Project, has photographed covert CIA interrogators and shown the pictures to some of the five senior al Qaeda terrorists held there in an effort to identify them further."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


30 March, 2010

Germany's "Democratic Party" in the 1930s

In my various writings I am much indebted to readers who send me interesting links and, occasionally, interesting books. One regular and generous correspondent has just sent me a copy of a recent book: Living with Hitler: Liberal Democrats in the Third Reich.

To understand what the book is about, you need to know that the German electoral system both then and now is/was run on proportional representation lines. There was nothing like the "First past the post" voting system that prevails in most Anglo-Saxon countries. In other words, the number of seats in the legislature that a party gets reflects roughly the proportion of votes cast that the party got in the most recent election. This invariably leads to a parliament in which MANY parties are represented, unlike the two-party system of the USA. It is very rare for any one party to get a majority of the seats available and governments are therefore usually formed by alliances between different parties. Israel and most of Europe has such a system to this day.

And in interwar Germany, politics were dominated by various flavours of Leftism. There was very little support for much in the way of conservatism. And the parties could be ranked in their degree of Leftism -- from Communist, to Nazi, to Social Democrats to Liberal Democrats. The Social Democrats were equivalent to the Labor parties that one finds in the Anglosphere, strongly allied with the Labor unions, and the Liberal Democrats saw themselves as "progressives", quite similar to the Democrats in the USA today. And it is that latter group that the book concerns.

So how did the German "Democrats" go in Hitler's Germany? Did they furiously resist Nazism, as the rhetoric of modern-day Democrats would suggest? No way! Like the FDR Democrats in the America of the 1930s, they got along with Hitler to various degrees. There were a small number of highly principled ones who fled Germany but most did little more than mutter and got by quite well under Hitler. Some even made distinguished careers under Hitler. Most thought that Hitler was too rough and too extreme but they appreciated his basic Leftism and went along with him willingly.

Conventional history since the war has focused on the small number of German "Democrats" who fled Germany but this latest book shows that they were highly atypical. If you want the details, you will have to read the book. It is a large and comprehensive work so you will be left in no doubt at the end of it about how easily "Democrats" can drift into Fascism. With the passage of Obamacare, many American conservatives would say the the drift concerned is now well underway in the USA.


Shunning the party of whiners

We're not yet a nation wholly of whiners, but some of our congresspersons are working on it. Democrats who should have been taking a victory lap spent a week cowering in fear of the contents of a tea cup. No wonder real men — mostly but, by no means all, white — are shunning the Democrats.

The polling gurus are finding that millions of the white men who helped put Barack Obama in the White House are leaving the Democrats in great numbers, and this could lead to really bad news in November. Gallup finds that white male support for a Democratic Congress has fallen 8 percentage points since last summer, while the support of women has remained remarkably steady. White women who voted for Mr. Obama continue to support him, but only 38 percent of white men support him now. Unless the president and his party find a way to reverse this trend they must prepare for an epic bath nine months hence.

Accomplishing such a turnaround would require first of all for Democrats to pipe down about what a tough life they have. Life is real, often hard, and, as Damon Runyon famously said to a whiner at the poker table, "three out of three people die, so shut up and deal." Democrats in Congress who got their way in the health care "reform" debate are frightened now that the people they abused are angry and determined to do something about it. With the help of the compliant "mainstream" media, they have created the specter of a tsunami of hate, bigotry, racism, slander, rock-throwing, spitting, irritable bowel syndrome and seven-year itch. Sarah Palin has got the Democrats particularly spooked.

What the Democrats actually got were dirty looks, catcalls, and cries of "shame!" They accused their constituents of hurling naughty words, including "the N-word" (which has become more terrible than the A-bomb in modern usage) as well as sticks, stones and occasional bricks. Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan, who betrayed his anti-abortion allies who believed him when he vowed never, ever, to vote for legislation to make taxpayer-funded abortion easier, even insists that his life was threatened by unidentified evildoers.

Exaggeration is the coin of politics, of course, and it turns out that nearly all of the threats of mayhem, dismemberment, death and rudeness cited by frightened Democrats were merely manufactured for effect. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri, who said he was spat upon at the Capitol, on drying off changed his story. He told The Washington Post that, umm, well, actually the heckler was, ah, "the man who allowed his saliva to hit my face." Anyone who has sat in the front row at the theater knows that drenching spittle, unpleasant but innocent, often accompanies dramatic speech. An examination of videotape finds no evidence that anyone at a certain Tea Party rally actually shouted the "N-word" at black Democrats, and the coffin that was supposed to have been left on his lawn to threaten another Missouri congressman was actually displayed at a prayer vigil against abortion down the street.

Incivility is the name of the game in modern politics, and the Internet has made the gratuitous insult as American as the banana-cream pie so tempting to smash into the face of someone who deserves it. But anyone who expresses a public opinion must expect dissent, colorfully expressed. Occasionally a threat is real and should be denounced and if need be punished. But the vilification of Barack Obama is no more passionate than the vilification of George W. Bush. Extremes beget extremes. Alec Baldwin promised to leave the country if George W. was re-elected president in 2004, and by 2008 Sean Penn was screaming that Republicans should "die in agony from rectal cancer." (What is this Hollywood obsession with the southern terminus of the alimentary canal?)

What most Democratic whiners don't understand — and what some of their betters understand very well — is that people get mad when they're ignored and punished by consequences imposed on them. Barack Obama understands it, and is contemptuous of the backlash, as anyone knows who saw the curl of his lip and heard the disdain in his voice when he celebrated the signing of Obamacare.

The Democrats know they have shoved an unwanted and despised health care "reform" down the throats of Americans, and they understand that arrogance, like elections, sometimes invites consequences. Once upon a time the liberal establishment — now the terrified whiners — didn't have to worry about consequences, since it had silenced the great unwashed. But the unwashed have found their voice, and they're not giving it up.



Winston Churchill an unlikely adviser for General Stanley A. McChrystal in the Afghan conflict

GENERAL Stanley A. McChrystal, the commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, has found an unlikely adviser in the continuing struggle against the Taliban. This new counsellor is British, a former journalist, soldier, writer, painter and politician. He is also dead, and the last time he was anywhere near Afghanistan was in 1897.

Winston Churchill has come to the aid of the Allies. McChrystal is said to listen to the writings of Churchill on his iPod during his daily eight-mile jog. A recent visitor to Nato headquarters in Kabul found the American general immersed in Churchill's first book, his account of the struggle to pacify the tribes of the North West Frontier at the end of the 19th century.

Next on the general's reading list, it was reported, is Churchill's The River War, describing the reconquest of the Sudan that ended in the battle of Omdurman in 1898.

Barack Obama, fresh from his first presidential visit to Afghanistan, is no admirer of Britain's colonial past, and his own writings echo with anger at the iniquities of imperialism. Yet Britain's last great imperial leader offered an extraordinary insight into the nature of warfare in the region, Islamic fundamentalism and the history and character of Afghan tribal society.

In 1897, at the age of 23, Churchill was attached as a soldier-journalist to the Malakand Field Force, the British expedition under the splendidly named Sir Bindon Blood, dispatched to put down the rebellious Pathan tribesmen of the North West Frontier, on what is now the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Churchill described his impressions of this land "where every man is a soldier" in a series of vivid newspaper reports, which were incorporated into The Story of the Malakand Field Force, published a year later. Churchill's time among the border tribes was also recalled in his autobiography, My Early Life.

The Young Winston was only on the North West Frontier for a few weeks, but like most journalists he swiftly considered himself an expert on the Afghans in general, and the Pathans in particular. His prose is typically rich and colourful, his generalisations lofty and patronising. He shared the peculiar British reverence for the Pathans as a noble warrior race: "the ferocity of the Zulu are added to the craft of the Redskin and the marksmanship of the Boer". He never set foot in Afghanistan itself.

Yet Churchill was a natural historian, and for all their imperial arrogance, his words carry unmistakable relevance to Afghanistan today. "Tribe wars with tribe. Every man's hand is against the other and all are against the stranger... the state of continual tumult has produced a habit of mind which holds life cheap and embarks on war with careless levity."

Churchill was fascinated by the fabulously complex web of feud and counter-feud among the Taleban's ancestors, the conglomeration of tribes and sub-tribes and the total absence of central authority. "Such a disposition, combined with an absolute lack of reverence for all forms of law and authority, is the cause of their frequent quarrels with the British power."

Churchill reserved a special disdain for Talibs, the religious students who would later form the core of the original Taliban. He called them "a host of wandering Talib-ul-ulms [who] live free at the expense of the people".

Yet his attitude towards Islamic fundamentalism was far more nuanced than that of his contemporaries. Later in the Sudan he did not merely dismiss the Dervishes following the Mahdi as lunatics, but sought to understand the "mighty stimulus of fanaticism" that thrived, as it does today, in the "fearful fatalistic apathy" in much of the Muslim world.

Despite deploying the latest military technology, British imperial Forces were at a severe disadvantage when faced by rebels armed with long-handled jezail muskets, able to shoot and kill at a distance, and then disappear. "The weapons of the 19th century," wrote Churchill, "in the hands of the savages of the Stone Age."

The IED, the remote-controlled improvised explosive device planted at roadsides in Afghanistan to such devastating effect, is the modern equivalent of the jezail; the Taliban's "asymmetric tactics" are directly descended from the long-distance sniping of a century ago.

Above all, Churchill realised that pacifying the rebel Pathans was a matter of culture, politics and persuasion, not compulsion. The more an outside army sought to impose order, the more ferocious the Afghan response. For this society to develop and progress, he predicted, any government would have to first tackle "the warlike nature of the people and their hatred of control".

Brute force of arms, he knew, was not only insufficient and probably ineffective, but also likely to foment greater antagonism. After experiencing the wild borderlands firsthand, Churchill laid out the options for dealing with a country like Afghanistan: imposing the rule of law at the barrel of a gun, pulling out and leaving the tribes to their stone age bloodletting or working through and with the tribal system. As General McChrystal recently told Robert Kaplan of The Atlantic magazine, "the third choice - Churchill's choice - is really the only one we have".

One can see Churchill's choice reflected in the allies' changing policy in Afghanistan: in the determination to recruit and train Afghans for the army and police, in the greater willingness to talk to elements within the Taliban and the distribution of hard cash. On his brief visit to Bagram this week, Obama spoke of the progress made in "good governance, rule of law, anti-corruption efforts".

David Miliband, too, has suggested that Britain's past in Afghanistan might usefully be recruited to the present. "Imperial strategists sought and secured a saner and more sustainable objective: a self-governing, self-policing, but heavily subsidised Afghanistan where the tribes balanced each other and the Afghan state posed no threat to the safety of British India."

That sounds like the sort of solution Churchill would have applauded, yet he also knew that any policy reliant on raw force would have its limitations in a land saturated by centuries of violence. As a 23-year-old journalist, Churchill looked on, as Blood's British Forces laid waste to the rebel villages "in punitive devastation", and wondered whether peace would ever be possible here.

"At the end of a fortnight the valley was a desert," he wrote. "Whether it was worth it... I cannot tell."




Australian government death panel condemns man to death: "Robin Stevens is dying of prostate cancer and he can no longer get the drug that was helping him. If he had breast cancer, he would still be eligible for Taxotere, a chemotherapy drug. His wife Angela says the powerful breast cancer lobby has ensured women have access to the "gold medal" treatment, but men don't have the same benefit. His doctors have written to state and federal politicians, saying that without Taxotere, his cancer - which has spread to his bones - will "increase and overwhelm him".

Break up the banks: "Big banks are bad for free markets. Far from being engines of free enterprise, they are conducive to what might be called ‘crony capitalism,’ ‘corporatism,’ or, in Jonah Goldberg’s provocative phrase, ‘liberal fascism.’ There is a free-market case for breaking up large financial institutions: that our big banks are the product, not of economics, but of politics.”

How China can rule the world -- maybe: "Martin Jacques’ new book, ‘When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order,’ is causing controversy. Is it possible that China will ‘rule the world’ in the near future? Perhaps, but only if it’s able to successfully transform from an industrial-based economy to a knowledge-based economy, and then transform even further to an innovation-based economy.”

Obamacare blowback dumbfounds disbelieving Democrats: "Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO), found a coffin in front of his house meant to symbolize Obamacare-aborted babies (but according to many Republicans may symbolize Carnahan’s political future.) This is nothing compared to the millions who believe they live in a land of property rights finding bulldozers in front of their homes with slick-talking politicians and their rich developer buddies shoving eminent domain documents in their faces. What’s good for the law-abiding is good for the lawmaker. Others who voted for Obamacare decry the threats filling their voicemail, mailboxes and inboxes. But that’s nothing compared to the monumental mound of laws that threaten all citizens with fines, arrest, prosecution, imprisonment and even death by trigger-happy law enforcers for failing to conform to every whim of the law creators. What’s good for the law-abiding is good for the lawmaker.”

Obamacare dystopia: "Ask yourself this: If you impose a sudden 35 percent tax on something, are you likely to get as much of it? Go on, take a wild guess. On the day President Obama signed Obamacare into law, Verizon sent an e-mail to all its employees warning that the company’s costs ‘will increase in the short term.’ And in the medium term? Well, U.S. corporations that are able to do so will get out of their prescription-drug plans and toss their retirees onto the Medicare pile. So far just three companies — Deere, Caterpillar, and Valero Energy — have calculated that the loss of the deduction will add a combined $265 million to their costs. There are an additional 3,500 businesses presently claiming the break. The cost to taxpayers of that 28 percent benefit is about $665 per person. The cost to taxpayers of equivalent Medicare coverage is about $1,200 per person. So we’re roughly doubling the cost of covering an estimated 5 million retirees.”

Minutemen give up: "The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, which posted hundreds of civilian volunteers along the U.S.-Mexico border over the past five years, has disbanded, citing what it called "rising aggression" in the country and decisions by lawmakers in Washington who have "pushed amnesty down our throats." "The mental attitude of many Americans is turning meaner … and we are concerned that this could cause problems," MCDC President Carmen Mercer told The Washington Times on Monday. "You see aggression surfacing even at the tea party marches. We just did not want to deal with the liability anymore."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


29 March, 2010

What thrills the Left may scare away the center

Now that Obamacare is the law of the land, Democrats promise to take on global warming, card check, immigration and a regulatory crackdown on banks. As Speaker Nancy Pelosi would say, Democrats have kicked through the door. Now they are contemplating what to plunder.

Rep. Henry Waxman, whose tiny heel landed one of the first blows against the door of public opinion and Republican resistance when he introduced the House version of Obamacare, now has his boot pointed at the corporations disclosing upfront costs of the health program he helped create.

Waxman wants AT&T, Verizon, Caterpillar, 3M and many other companies to explain why they told shareholders to expect smaller profits and employees to expect changes in benefits.

Waxman, who heads the House Energy and Commerce Committee, wants their internal e-mails to review even before the executives come in to take their whippings.

Chairman Waxman, whose ego is a much larger thing than the law, will not be mollified when he's told that Securities and Exchange Commission accounting rules require the write-downs in the same quarter that a tax change is enacted.

While Waxman is re-educating corporate America, President Obama showed what the new Democratic boldness looks like with the recess appointment of union lawyer Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board.

Becker's nomination came up eight votes short of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate because he is known to Hill staffers as "human Card Check" for his opposition to secret ballots in union certification elections. Becker, who works for the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO, has argued that if the laws pertaining to organizing nonunion workplaces couldn't be changed, the NLRB could simply act as if they were.

Now, Democrats believe that the time has come to be bolder still. They mean to convince the American people that the party so long associated with dithering has become a party of steely resolve. No more Mr. Nice Guy.

This may thrill liberal voters who spent much of Obama's first year in office complaining about his unwillingness to get rough with Republicans. And it may lessen the effect of having the Right fully mobilized against the president's agenda.

But it will also scare the dickens out of regular Americans. Neglecting the center and taking a "by any means necessary" approach will convince moderates that the Democrats are irresponsible with their new power -- and drive many independent voters away from the party even if the economy improves.



The new electorate

Voting is so central to the American system that three of the last five amendments to our Constitution deal with voting (Amendments 23, 24 and 26). Amendment 26, for instance, extends the vote to eighteen year olds.

But the American political Left (a.k.a. progressives) wants to extend the vote well beyond American teenage citizens. In hopes of creating instant Democrat voters, Al Gore's Citizenship USA program rammed through grants of citizenship by waiving qualifications. At WorldNetDaily in 2001, Kenneth R. Timmerman reported:
Citizenship USA was an initiative of Vice President Al Gore that was ostensibly part of his National Performance Review to "reinvent" government. Internal White House memos, obtained by the House Judiciary Committee in 1997, showed that the vice president was well aware that the effort could be perceived as a "pro-Democrat voter mill."

On March 28, 1996, White House aide Doug Farbrother e-mailed Gore detailing his efforts to get INS to waive fingerprinting and background checks "to make me confident they could produce a million new citizens before Election Day."

Gore then wrote Clinton: "You asked us to expedite the naturalization of nearly a million legal aliens who have applied to become citizens." The risk, Gore warned, was that "we might be publicly criticized for running a pro-Democrat voter mill and even risk having Congress stop us."
But why bother with granting aliens citizenship? In the Socialist Republic of California, San Franciscans want illegal aliens to have the vote. (If they can vote for office, shouldn't illegals be allowed to run for office, too?) In "The Threat of Non-Citizen Voting", Hans A. von Spakovsky of The Heritage Foundation notes:
Florida is not unique. Thousands of non-citizens are registered to vote in some states, and tens if not hundreds of thousands in total may be present on the voter rolls nationwide. These numbers are significant: Local elections are often decided by only a handful of votes, and even national elections have likely been within the margin of the number of non-citizens illegally registered to vote.

Yet there is no reliable method to determine the number of non-citizens registered or actually voting because most laws to ensure that only citizens vote are ignored, are inadequate, or are systematically undermined by government officials. Those who ignore the implications of non-citizen registration and voting either are willfully blind to the problem or may actually favor this form of illegal voting.
On January 5, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (the most reversed circuit in the nation) ruled: "Incarcerated felons should be allowed to vote in Washington to ensure that racial minorities are protected under the Voting Rights Act." The plaintiff was one Muhammad Shabazz Farrakhan.

On July 1, 2008 in The Nation, leftwing commentator Katrina vanden Heuvel expressed her sympathies:
In the twenty-first century, the other America is behind bars, literally and figuratively: with one of every 100 Americans in prison, we are establishing a perverse parallel America--a predominantly nonwhite one--and making it permanent by stripping those consigned there of the right to vote. It's a hopeful sign that a growing number of states are re-enfranchising ex-felons. Vermont, Maine and Puerto Rico never deny citizens the right to vote and even allow prisoners to vote from jail, while sixteen other states as well as the District of Columbia allow citizens to vote who are on probation or parole or who have been released from prison. Recognizing the right of ex-felons to vote would grant them the power to contest this status for others and help reintegrate them into society.
Ms. Vanden Heuvel never explained the necessity of allowing psychopaths, rapists, murderers, domestic terrorists and their like to take part in democracy. Do they have special insights on, say, the public option that the law-abiding don't?

Rachel La Corte of the AP reports: "an estimated 5.3 million people nationwide are ineligible to vote because of felony convictions." This cohort is a potential treasure trove of support for Democrats, as John Lott demonstrates that felons overwhelmingly vote Democrat. (What can we conclude from this fact about Democrat politicians?) From the Timmerman link above: "[M]ore than 80,000 aliens had fingerprint checks that generated criminal records, but they were naturalized anyway."

The Left sold your birthright for a mess of votes, and never batted an eye. Everything the Left has done vis-à-vis elections has been to expand the electorate; they couldn't care less about the integrity of our elections. In Ohio, a judge has ruled that a park bench can be used to fulfill the residency requirement for voter registration. The Left's latest assault on electoral integrity is universal voter registration, which would trample all over states' rights and create voter registration chaos.

The "new electorate" consists of convicted felons, illegal aliens, and citizens who should never have been naturalized, but were. The "new electorate" also consists of citizens who commit election fraud. What does this mean for democracy in America?




In the latest example of government's overreaching power and repudiation of the Constitution, Democrats have passed a bill that once again forces the productive to pay for the non-productive. We were told that 30 to 40 million people don't have, or don't want, health care insurance. Hence, they will now be forced to buy it against their will if they don't have it, or get it free if they can't afford it, in order to enable President Obama and Speaker Pelosi to construct a legacy for themselves. The predilections of the American people notwithstanding, these tyrannical glory-hounds have decided that public opinion is the least of their concerns.

The fact that workers are already paying about 50 percent of their earnings in taxes every year is of no interest to those who live by sucking the blood of the ambitious. Make no mistake about it: The government's hands just went even more deeply into our pockets.

All responsible citizens recognize the need for taxes to pay for services that provide security, infrastructure, school financing, etc. In addition, most people are decent enough to open their wallets a little wider when the need arises; Americans are the most generous people on earth. Yet they're the last people on earth you want to mess with if they feel like they are being treated unjustly. It is that spirit of righteousness, etched into our national genetic code by ancestors who struggled against tyranny, that sets us apart from the majority of the planet, most of whom genuflect obsequiously in the presence of their masters. That's not the American way!

It is this very spirit that has made the Tea Party movement a magnet for Americans who have become incensed at the level of arrogance being evinced by the Obama administration and those Democrats who have abandoned any concept of integrity in order to become slavishly devoted to "his highness." Repudiating their constituents, renegade Democrats have given the middle finger to the people who pay their salaries, their very generous health plans, and their stunningly generous pensions.

Thanks to the Tea Party patriots and millions of other freedom-loving Americans from sea to shining sea, this recent move toward an ever-expanding socialist state will be dutifully and publicly addressed in the November election. As Justice Brandeis, another sagacious member of the Supreme Court, once said, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."

More here



Is the health care bounce history?: "Pollster Scott Rasmussen’s latest sample suggests that Barack Obama’s approval rating bounced slightly upward when the House passed the health care bills March 21 and has since subsided. Rasmussen’s approval index, subtracting the percentage strongly disapproving from the percentage strongly approving, was -21 on March 20 (reflecting interviews conducted March 17-19), dropped to -10 on March 23 (interviews conducted March 20-22) and today is back up to -16 (interviews conducted March 25-27). Strong approval topped out at 32% on March 25 and is back down to 28%, just a little above the level in the month before passage of the bills March 21. Strong disapproval is at 44%, the highest it’s been."

Supreme Court may weigh coverage mandate: "The same Supreme Court justices whom President Obama blasted during his State of the Union address this year may ultimately decide the fate of his crowning achievement as more than a dozen states have called on the courts to strike down the health insurance mandate of Democrats' health care overhaul - a move that would threaten the entire law. Legal scholars are divided on the merits of the cases, and even Congress - through its research service and its budget scorekeeper - has said it's an open question whether the provision could pass constitutional muster. The mandate, which doesn't take effect until 2014, is central to Democrats' goal of insuring about 32 million more Americans."

Case against 3 SEALs weakens: "Cracks are beginning to appear in the military's prosecution of three Navy SEALs accused of striking a most-wanted terrorism suspect they had captured in Iraq. Maj. Gen. Charles Cleveland last week signed grants of immunity for five Navy colleagues of the accused. Some of those five, three enlisted men and two officers, are expected at trial to flatly contradict the prosecution's key witness, according to a Navy source close to the case, which centers on the September 2009 capture of Ahmed Hashim Abed".

Bigger danger of healthcare bill: The arrogance of Congress: "We may never fully know the damage that will be done by the massive healthcare bill Congress passed on Sunday, but one thing is certain: It will lead to lower-quality care at higher costs. Dozens of new health boards will come on line in the next few years, as bureaucrats gradually take control of our healthcare system. Who knows how many bright college students will decide to avoid medical careers because they don’t want to follow orders from these bureaucrats? As alarming as some of the bill’s provisions are, what’s more dangerous is the arrogance this Congress demonstrated.”

Wishful thinking on health care: "How an issue is framed is crucial to how it is decided. Advocates of the package of health insurance regulations, taxes, and mandates known as ObamaCare managed to frame the issue as ‘reform versus the status quo.’ But to call the Obama-Pelosi-Reid plan (OPR) ‘reform’ is to beg the question by assuming precisely what needs to be proved: namely, that the legislative package would actually reform — that is, improve — the medical system.”

“Seeing” red at reconciliation over medicine cabinet tax: "‘They won’t be so opposed to it once they see what’s in it.’ That’s the rationalization House leaders gave skittish Democrats to get them to walk the plank on Obamacare Sunday night. But one of the first things millions of Americans will ’see’ is an effective 40 percent tax hike on the over-the-counter medicines – from an antihistamine such as Claritin for allergies, pain relief medicine such as Tylenol or Excedrin, Pedialyte to prevent their kids from becoming dehydrated when they are sick, and even prenatal vitamins if they are expecting another one.”

Governor Moonbeam vs. eMeg: "The obvious question is why anyone would want to be the next governor of California. But three viable candidates — two Republicans and one Democrat — are defying logic by offering themselves for this post. One Republican, state insurance commissioner and former tech executive Steve Poizner, is running on a systematic right-wing platform of massive spending cuts, new personal and business tax cuts, and, for dessert, another effort to ban access to public benefits for undocumented workers and their families. The second GOP candidate, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, is running far ahead of Poizner, floating her campaign on an extraordinary sea of early money. … she is reportedly spending hundreds of thousands of dollars building a library of negative information to use against her general election opponent, a guy named Jerry Brown. That’s right, Edmund Gerald ‘Jerry’ Brown Jr., who is, on paper, the least likely person imaginable to become the frontrunner for governor of a state that is so passionately disillusioned with politicians.”

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


28 March, 2010

Socialized medicine

As I noted recently, I am now no longer updating my SOCIALIZED MEDICINE blog. Now that Obamacare has been passed and signed, I take to heart President Reagan's comment that the nearest thing to eternal life is a government program. I hope that is wrong as it applies to Obamacare but I am not counting on it.

The horror stories about Britain's socialized medicine system are so frequent, however, that I feel I have to draw attention to them. So I have decided that I will lead off my postings for each day on my EYE ON BRITAIN blog with the latest stories about that. Few days go by without such stories. The post I will be putting up later today has FOUR such stories -- four in one day!


Obamalypse for Israel

There is an Obamalyptic tone at the White House. The president put the all the chips he owned in domestic politics on the table for a health care bill opposed by more than 60% of polled voters, and now he has thrown all his foreign policy chips into the pot in order to humiliate a close American ally for whom the American public has overwhelming sympathy. One has the sense that the Obamoids fear that their tenure in power will be brief and that they want to do the most to alter the world before the peasants march on the castle and burn them out.

As Jackson Diehl put it in a now-viral meme on the Washington Post blog, the White House treated Netanyahu like an “unsavory dictator who had to be kept at arm’s length.” He was sneaked in the back door; there was no photo opportunity, and no final statement.

Although the Israeli government has clamped a blackout on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s meetings with President Obama and aides David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel, the content has leaked out through various channels. Israel will either stop housing construction in its capital city per Obama’s orders, or the United States will offer a final version of a “peace agreement” between Israel and the Palestinians and shove it down Israel’s throat.

I have independently confirmed the substance of the following report from the Debka website:
A high-ranking US official categorized the current crisis in US-Israeli relations as the most acute in 54 years, ever since 1956 when President Dwight Eisenhower gave David Ben-Gurion an ultimatum to pull Israeli forces out of Sinai – certainly more serious than the impasse over the Madrid conference between the first President Bush and Yitzhak Shamir in 1992.

A US presidential notice condemning Israel and predetermining the shape of an Israeli-Palestinian settlement would be tantamount to a US diktat and put the lid on negotiations, direct or indirect, because Israel would be dragged to the table in handcuffs to face an Arab partner who would accept nothing less than the terms Washington imposed in advance on Israel.

Such a notice would put a clamp on the close dialogue which has historically characterized US-Israeli ties – to the detriment of Israel’s international standing. [Jackson Diehl in] The Washington Post laid the blame for the crisis squarely on President Obama, whom it accused of treating Netanyahu “as if he were an unsavory Third World dictator, needed for strategic reasons but conspicuously held at arms length.”

The WP went on to say: “Obama picked a fight over something that virtually all Israelis agree on, and before serious discussions have even begun. ”A new administration can be excused for making such a mistake in the treacherous and complex theater of Middle East diplomacy. That’s why Obama was given a pass by many when he made exactly the same mistake last year. The second time around, the president doesn’t look naive. He appears ideological — and vindictive.”
What is the administration thinking?

First of all, as I explained earlier this week, the administration envisions a strategic alliance with Iran to stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan, in which Iran will be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons — just as Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Zbignew Brzezinski proposed in a 2004 report for the Council on Foreign Relations.

Second, Rahm Emanuel — who ushered the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to the infamous 1993 Rose Garden handshake with Yassir Arafat — appears to think that he’s doing Israel a favor by forcing a settlement. The American left is still stuck on the Oslo fantasy of the earl 1990s; the Israeli public, after having tried Oslo and gotten Intifada and terrorism, knows better.

Obama’s gamble is enormous. So far he has gotten a free pass on foreign policy as the inheritor of a mess left behind by the Bush administration, while domestic problems — above all the 20% rate of under- and unemployment — took precedence. But Israel is the single most emotional issue in foreign policy, and the Gallup Poll reports that American support for Israel is at the all-time high reached briefly during the First Gulf War, when Saddam Hussein’s Scud rockets rained on Tel Aviv.

“[Former Secretary of State] James Baker said, ‘Screw the Jews, they don’t vote for us,’ and Obama is saying, ‘Screw the Jews, they’ll vote for us anyway,” a prominent American rabbi said this week. The mainstream Jewish organizations, who overwhelmingly supported Obama and share his domestic agenda, are in such a state of shock over the outcome of Netanyahu’s visit that it will take them some days to begin to blink.

The world is a radically different place than the liberal Jewish majority imagined it was, and Obama is a radically different man. It is quite possible that they will throw Israel under the bus for fear that an open attack on Obama at this time would contribute to a Democratic debacle in November. However Jews vote, they are less than 3% of the electorate, but a collapse of US relations with Israel would energize evangelical and other Christian voters against Obama.

Netanyahu is in a bind: never since 1956 has the United States put a gun to the head of an Israeli government, and that was over the joint Anglo-French-Israeli occupation of Suez, not about urgent Israeli security concerns. Creating a Hamastan within easy rocket range of Tel Aviv and Israel’s major airports would threaten Israel’s existence. Hamas rocketeers firing behind a human shield of civilians (just as Hamas has done in Gaza and Hizbollah in Southern Lebanon) would leave Israel the choice of reoccupying territory at the cost of many civilian casualties, or permitting ordinary life to become intolerate. That is precisely what Israel has said.

As Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren told Charlie Rose March 19, “Keep in mind the Israeli people are going to be asked to make extraordinary risks here. We withdrew from Lebanon. We withdrew from Gaza, we got rockets. To create peace with the Palestinian we`re going to have to withdraw from territory that is immediately adjacent to our major population state centers. We have to be assured that when we do that we`re not going to get Gaza again, we`re not going to get Lebanon again. We want to be assured that we`re going to have real peace.”

The future of Israel well may be fought out in the November elections. This is not a drill. This is the real thing. Obama is exposed and vulnerable. If the Democrats are not punished for shifting America’s foreign-policy loyalties away from Israel and towards Iran, Israel’s long-term security position will deteriorate.



Rising Anti-Semitism on the Left

by Gary Bauer

Not content to divide his party in his year-long effort to pass socialized health care, President Obama has spent the last ten days fomenting intra-party discord on the contentious issue of Middle East peace.

The Obama administration hasn’t stopped berating Israel about the “settlements” issue since it came to power 14 months ago. I was glad to see pro-Israel Democrats bravely stand up to the administration’s attacks this week.

But I fear the Obama administration’s over-reaction to what amounts to a municipal zoning decision is indicative of the growing anti-Semitism on the Left. The president’s heavy-handed approach to Israel is leading his party away from its historic support for the Jewish State.

No, I am not accusing the president of being an anti-Semite. What I am contending is that Obama’s Israel policy is getting its largest cheers among Muslim special interest groups and the anti-Semitic left. His policy reflects the anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel of those he has closely associated with all his life, and of those with increasing prominence in the Democratic Party.

Obama spent significant time with radical Muslim activists during his time as a community organizer. And it is not unreasonable to wonder how much of his long-time pastor Jeremiah Wright’s anti-Jewish vitriol he absorbed. The list of his past associates and advisors -- including Rashid Khalidi, Ali Abuminah, Susan Rice and Robert Malley -- is a who’s who of prominent Israel-bashers.

The ancient hatred of Jews will find a home wherever it can, and it has done so as easily on the radical right as on the radical left. But in recent years anti-Semitism has become a more consequential force on the Left.

In 2006, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a Campus Anti-Semitism report announcing that anti-Semitism is “a serious problem” on many American university campuses, those bastions of political liberalism.

Anti-Semitism has become a staple of bloggers on leftwing websites like the Huffington Post, the Daily Kos and MoveOn.org. Former Clinton administration official Lanny Davis wrote in the Wall Street Journal of his dismay at the anti-Semitic “hate and vitriol” against Joe Lieberman, for whom Davis was campaigning, in his 2006 primary campaign against Ned Lamont. Davis recounted some of the attacks, and concluded that “bigotry and hate aren’t just for right-wingers anymore.”

The Left’s growing anti-Semitism is discouraging in part because the party many radicals associate with has been home to Jews for nearly a century. And Democrats have historically been some of Israel’s greatest defenders.

This week many Democrats spoke out against the White House’s over-reaction to Israel’s decision to build more housing for its growing population. New York Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner said, “The appropriate response was a shake of the head – not a temper tantrum. Israel is a sovereign nation and an ally, not a punching bag. Enough already.” Other Democrats issued similar statements reaffirming the U.S.-Israel bond.

A February Gallup poll put American public support for Israel at 63 percent, its highest in nearly 20 years. And only 15 percent of Americans side with the Palestinians.

Gallup noted that “Since 2001…there has been a more dramatic shift in partisan attitudes: a 25 point increase in sympathy for Israel among Republicans and an 18 point increase among independents.”

Sadly, the Democratic Party’s historic support for Israel may be fraying. A majority of self-identified Democrats no longer support Israel. Democratic support for Israel has decreased since Obama took office, from 54 percent last year to 48 percent this year. Gallup also found that more Democrats have a favorable view of autocratic Russia, and nearly as many have a favorable view of Communist China, than have a favorable view of Israel, America’s only dependable ally in the Middle East.

Jews have been a reliable Democratic constituency for decades. And 80 percent of American Jewish voters cast their ballots for Barack Obama in 2008.

But that support may be weakening among those for whom a strong and secure Israel is important. As Alan Dershowitz wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “Many American supporters of Israel who voted for Barack Obama now suspect they may have been victims of a bait and switch.” That was in July. I wouldn’t be surprised if those suspicions have turned into reality for many pro-Israel Americans.

Part of Obama’s problem is that he seems to misunderstand the Jewish claim to Israel. In his Cairo speech last summer, Obama promoted the radical Muslim narrative that modern Israel is a “guilt offering” for the Holocaust. The Jewish presence in Israel has been constant for thousands of years, not 70. And it’s founded in God’s benevolence, not European guilt.

The Obama administration’s ridiculous demand this week that the settlement decision be reversed and that Israel make a “substantial gesture” toward the Palestinians has only emboldened the Palestinians to demand the same as preconditions to “peace” talks.

And the administration’s apoplectic response to Israel’s creation of new homes to serve a growing population in its capital city may already have had deadly consequences. An Israeli was killed by a Gaza rocket fired by Palestinian terrorists this week, the first such death in more than a year.

Earlier this week, I wrote a letter to President Obama, challenging his administration to end its rhetorical assault on Israel and to turn his efforts to the real security threat facing the U.S. and Israel – the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran. Many other conservative leaders have signed on. You can read it here:

I and my friends in the Democratic Party disagree on many issues. But we have always agreed on the importance of a strong alliance between the United States and Israel, against communism during the Cold War and against radical Islam now. I hope those friends can convince the current Democrat in the White House to return to his party’s noble tradition of supporting Israel.




by Dr. Jack Wheeler

That's the question and the bet of our day. Conservatives and TeaPartyers bet yes, Democrats and moonbat moochers bet no. The Republican Party establishment wants to bet yes but hasn't got the guts to go all in.

Understand this and you understand American politics today. Who wins the bet determines America's future.

What made Americans Americans was their commitment - unrivaled in human history - to individual liberty. This commitment was enshrined as the founding principle of America in the Declaration of Independence:

That every human being and specifically every American has a moral right endowed by his Creator, by what is required by his nature to be fully human, to his own personal life, his own personal liberty, and the pursuit of his own personal happiness - and that no government has the moral right or legitimate authority to violate this individual right.

Further, that the very purpose of government, what legitimized a government's very existence, was to secure and protect this individual right - and whenever a government becomes destructive of this right, those governed by it have a moral right to alter and abolish it.

The Declaration of Independence is the most truly revolutionary document in political history. It is the most profoundly moral document as well. And to confound the long line of philosophers who claim there is an unbridgeable abyss between moral behavior and pragmatic self-interested behavior, it is also the most practically successful document in history. America's prosperity dwarfs any historical comparison.

The truth of America's founding principles were "self-evident" to the Americans who created our country. They are no longer to an increasingly large fraction of Americans today. The stated purpose and clear goal of Democrats is to increase that fraction. The claimed purpose and alleged goal of Republicans is to reduce it.

For decades upon decades now, Americans on the whole have been slowly and progressively becoming less American, less independent and responsible for their own lives, more dependent on government programs and demanding of others to be responsible for them.

We have now reached the point where between 40 to 50% of people in this country are so unwilling to be responsible for their lives and freedom, so demanding of their supposed right to mooch off taxpayers, that they still maintain a firm support of a president who believes that God should damn America.

We have reached the point with the passage of ObamaCare that we are justified in terming those who continue to support President Zero and the Pelosi-Reid Democrat Party AINOs - Americans In Name Only.

In one sense, we can be glad that ObamaCare passed in the House last Sunday, March 21, and signed into law by President Zero two days later - because it forces the issue. America must now choose between freedom or fascism, there is no other choice, nothing in-between.

"Give me liberty or give me death," proclaimed Patrick Henry in 1775. "Live free or die," said Revolutionary War general John Stark, which New Hampshire adopted as its state motto. That was a real choice at the birth of America. Now it is again.

The next seven months are going to be the ugliest this country has experienced in our lifetimes. Any and all opponents of ObamaCare will be branded as terrorists - indeed they are already. The Democrats will look upon their ObamaCare victory as a template, and attempt to ram through via bribes and corruption passage of amnesty for illegals, a carbon tax, a VAT tax, and every other major item on their Marxist Fascist agenda.

More here

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


27 March, 2010

Goodwin Liu's America

Chinese Communism coming to America

By Theodore H. Frank, president of the Center for Class Action Fairness.

President Obama's nominee for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is Goodwin Liu. I oppose the nomination of 39-year-old Berkeley Professor Goodwin Liu to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and I urge the Senate to reject it.

In 2005, Goodwin Liu spoke out against the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court because of Roberts’s support for “free enterprise,” “private ownership of property,” and “limited government”—demonstrating nothing more than the bubble that a twenty-first century left-wing law professor lives in that would treat such fundamental principles of America as “code words” worthy of condemnation.

This alone is sufficient, by itself, to disqualify Liu from this new position to which he has been nominated. The man who speaks out against private ownership of property does not deserve a lifetime Article III appointment.

Mr. Liu should also be rejected by the Senate because he stands for an extremist view of the Constitution and the role of the courts. The judiciary, in Liu’s words, is not bound by the text of the Constitution or the commands of the legislature, but by “socially situated modes of reasoning” and “culturally and historically contingent meanings of particular social goods in our own society.”

It is a view of judicial supremacy: Where legislatures have failed to affirmatively act in ways that foster the “evolution of welfare rights,” courts are to step in and act as both a legislature and an executive branch to allocate funding to schools or otherwise “leverage” the expansion of existing social programs.

Goodwin Liu’s America is a land in which “justice” means judges remedying “societal discrimination” regardless of the consequences on innocent people; where 20th century immigrants to the United States are “responsible” for the crimes of 19th century slave-owners; where states would not be allowed to exercise the will of the people in punishing murderers with capital punishment; where racial quotas are not only not forbidden, but required.

America is a better and freer nation than Goodwin Liu thinks. Yet in the current state of the Ninth Circuit, his rigid ideology will further tip the scales of justice against the kind of country America is and ought to be.

The Ninth Circuit is a court that was one vote away from striking down the Pledge of Allegiance; regularly abuses the law to disregard states’ wishes to impose capital punishment; has ordered California to release 25% of its prisoners; has forbidden Los Angeles from enforcing laws against sleeping on sidewalks; has said it has seen no reason why animals should not be allowed to sue the federal government; held an ex-police officer could sue his employer for firing him for running a porn site in his uniform; said that gun manufacturers could be held civilly liable for the shooting sprees of the mentally ill.

Congress should be insisting that President Obama take steps to rectify the imbalance already present on the Ninth Circuit, rather than exacerbating it. No justice would be better than this injustice.



CBO report: Debt will rise to 90% of GDP

President Obama's fiscal 2011 budget will generate nearly $10 trillion in cumulative budget deficits over the next 10 years, $1.2 trillion more than the administration projected, and raise the federal debt to 90 percent of the nation's economic output by 2020, the Congressional Budget Office reported Thursday.

In its 2011 budget, which the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released Feb. 1, the administration projected a 10-year deficit total of $8.53 trillion. After looking it over, CBO said in its final analysis, released Thursday, that the president's budget would generate a combined $9.75 trillion in deficits over the next decade.

"An additional $1.2 trillion in debt dumped on [GDP] to our children makes a huge difference," said Brian Riedl, a budget analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "That represents an additional debt of $10,000 per household above and beyond the federal debt they are already carrying."



The Freedom Factor

The raging debate over Obamacare is not exactly all about health. It's really about freedom, or lack thereof. It's simple when you cut through all the overheated rhetoric: The anti-Obama folks believe the president is imposing a massive federal presence that will erode personal freedoms. The pro-Obama crew supports a huge federal apparatus to impose "social justice," believing that is the government's moral responsibility.

The personal freedom issue is pretty clear, as well. We have less of it today than we did this time last year. In an aggressive power grab, the feds now control the health care industry, and the IRS has increased its already enormous power, as it will enforce Obamacare mandates. In addition, your private medical records will no longer be private. They will be accessible by federal bureaucrats. If that doesn't make you queasy, nothing will.

And then there's higher education. The president wants the feds, not private lending institutions, to distribute college loans, and it looks like that will happen.

And then there's the banking industry. The Obama administration seeks tough oversight rules and wants to call major shots in the financial world. Federal regulation could strangle some banks and force most of them to do exactly what the government wants.

And then there's the energy industry. The president wants to mandate how private business consumes energy and to dish out financial punishment if federal rules are not followed. That's the cap-and-trade deal.

In addition to the direct intrusion on business and private behavior (through health insurance), the redistribution-of-wealth train is roaring toward its next destination. That would be a national sales tax like they have in Europe. The president well understands the huge debt that is piling up because of all the federal spending. He has to raise more money. Wealthy Americans are going to get hammered by income tax and capital gains hikes, but there are simply not enough rich folks to counter the red ink. So get ready for a proposed new tax on stuff you buy.

Not since the early days of the Vietnam War has there been such a stark divide between liberal and conservative Americans, between Republicans and Democrats. The battle lines are clearly drawn: individual freedom versus federal power. Take your pick.



Roots of Russian Anti-Americanism

On Tuesday, The Heritage Foundation hosted a public discussion on Russian anti-Americanism, which has risen since 2000. So, what are the root causes of anti-Americanism, how do they affect US-Russian relations, and how should they be addressed?

Helle Dale and Dr. Ariel Cohen, both senior research fellows at The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies and Davis Institute, as well as Daniel Kimmage, a senior fellow at the Homeland Security Policy Institute, agreed that the Russian government uses anti-Americanism to create an external enemy, to unite domestic support, and to bolster the authoritarian regime.

Dr. Cohen stressed that by and large, Russian national television networks are state controlled. “Talking heads” appear on government TV channels spewing anti-American propaganda, and often clear falsehoods, such as the US Government being behind the 9/11 attacks or the US Government financing the Bolshevik coup of 1917.

The Government of Russia denies American broadcasters access to Russian TV channels and radio waves.



China's military expanding

The commander of U.S. military forces in the Pacific said Thursday that the buildup of Chinese armed forces is continuing "unabated" and Beijing's goal appears to be power projection beyond Asia....

He also disclosed for the first time in the testimony that China is moving ahead with a new anti-ship ballistic missile capable of attacking aircraft carriers hundreds of miles from China's coasts.

China also will deploy its own aircraft carrier by 2012 and currently has more than 60 submarines, he said.

China is "developing and testing a conventional anti-ship ballistic missile based on the DF-21/CSS-5 medium-range ballistic missile designed specifically to target aircraft carriers," Adm. Willard said in his prepared statement.

The new missile is designed to hit targets at extended ranges from the Chinese mainland, and other anti-access weapons include a large number of submarines, new integrated air- and missile-defense capabilities and cyberwarfare and anti-space weapons, Adm. Willard said, noting "all of which we have been monitoring very closely for some years."



ObamaCare puts up huge roadblocks to new hospitals

Because of the new health care law, Dr. John Dietz has an empty building that he's not sure what he's going to do with. Dietz is part owner of the Indiana Orthopedic Hospital. "It is an expansion of our hospital that is three-quarters finished; it had three operating rooms for outpatient surgery," he said. "Now it can't be used for that purpose. We'll have to figure out an alternative for it."

Dietz and his fellow investors put $27 million into that new building. Under the new law there are a host of bureaucratic hoops that physician-owned hospitals must go through to expand.

• The hospital must apply to the Department of Health and Human Services and can do so only once every two years.

• It must then wait for a period for members of the community to provide input.

• It must be in a county where population growth is 150% of the population growth of the state in the last five years.

• Inpatient admissions must be equal to or greater than the average of such admissions in all hospitals located in the county.

• Its bed occupancy rate must be greater than the state average.

• It must be located in a state where hospital bed capacity is less than the national average.

• Once a hospital meets all of those conditions, it is prohibited from expanding more than 200%.

More here


Who wins in health care mess? The IRS

The biggest winner from the passage of Obama’s health care reform bill is not the American people but the Internal Revenue Service. The new bill will require the IRS to hire almost 17,000 new employees.

I don’t know a single person who enjoys dealing with the IRS, but thanks to Obamacare, the IRS will become 12 times more intrusive than it already is. Currently, Americans must deal with the IRS for an annual tax return and all the revisions required if it is not completed to their satisfaction. Under Obamacare, the IRS will be checking every month to see if we have health insurance acceptable to them, not to us. The IRS will levy fines if our insurance is not acceptable.

The Democrats have definitely become the party of government control and socialism. Obamacare heightens the control of the federal government in a major way. It is a government takeover of 18% of the American economy.

Not only is the government ruling over us in a much greater way, but also we have to pay them to rule over us. Our taxes will pay the 17,000 new IRS workers to reign over us. This seems to be the only way that Obama can create new jobs....

More here

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


26 March, 2010

Obama’s legacy and the Iranian bomb

The gravest threat faced by the world today is a nuclear-armed Iran. Of all the nations capable of producing nuclear weapons, Iran is the only one that might use them to attack an enemy.

There are several ways in which Iran could use nuclear weapons. The first is by dropping an atomic bomb on Israel, as its leaders have repeatedly threatened to do. Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president of Iran, boasted in 2004 that an Iranian attack would kill as many as five million Jews. Mr. Rafsanjani estimated that even if Israel retaliated with its own nuclear bombs, Iran would probably lose about 15 million people, which he said would be a small "sacrifice" of the billion Muslims in the world.

The second way in which Iran could use nuclear weapons would be to hand them off to its surrogates, Hezbollah or Hamas. A third way would be for a terrorist group, such as al Qaeda, to get its hands on Iranian nuclear material. It could do so with the consent of Iran or by working with rogue elements within the Iranian regime.

Finally, Iran could use its nuclear weapons without ever detonating a bomb. By constantly threatening Israel with nuclear annihilation, it could engender so much fear among Israelis as to incite mass immigration, a brain drain, or a significant decline in people moving to Israel.

These are the specific ways in which Iran could use nuclear weapons, primarily against the Jewish state. But there are other ways in which a nuclear-armed Iran would endanger the world. First, it would cause an arms race in which every nation in the Middle East would seek to obtain nuclear weapons.

Second, it would almost certainly provoke Israel into engaging in either a pre-emptive or retaliatory attack, thus inflaming the entire region or inciting further attacks against Israel by Hezbollah and Hamas.

Third, it would provide Iran with a nuclear umbrella under which it could accelerate its efforts at regional hegemony. Had Iraq operated under a nuclear umbrella when it invaded Kuwait in 1990, Saddam Hussein's forces would still be in Kuwait.

Fourth, it would embolden the most radical elements in the Middle East to continue their war of words and deeds against the United States and its allies.

And finally, it would inevitably unleash the law of unintended consequences: Simply put, nobody knows the extent of the harm a nuclear-armed Iran could produce.

In these respects, allowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons is somewhat analogous to the decision by the victors of World War I to allow Nazi Germany to rearm during the 1930s. Even the Nazis were surprised at this complacency. Joseph Goebbels expected the French and British to prevent the Nazis from rebuilding Germany's war machine.

In 1940, Goebbels told a group of German journalists that if he had been the French premier when Hitler came to power he would have said, "The new Reich Chancellor is the man who wrote Mein Kampf, which says this and that. This man cannot be tolerated in our vicinity. Either he disappears or we march!"

But, Goebbels continued, "they didn't do it. They left us alone and let us slip through the risky zone, and we were able to sail around all dangerous reefs. And when we were done, and well armed, better than they, then they started the war!"

Most people today are not aware that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain helped restore Great Britain's financial stability during the Great Depression and also passed legislation to extend unemployment benefits, pay pensions to retired workers and otherwise help those hit hard by the slumping economy. But history does remember his failure to confront Hitler. That is Chamberlain's enduring legacy.

So too will Iran's construction of nuclear weapons, if it manages to do so in the next few years, become President Barack Obama's enduring legacy. Regardless of his passage of health-care reform and regardless of whether he restores jobs and helps the economy recover, Mr. Obama will be remembered for allowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. History will not treat kindly any leader who allows so much power to be accumulated by the world's first suicide nation—a nation whose leaders have not only expressed but, during the Iran-Iraq war, demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice millions of their own people to an apocalyptic mission of destruction.

If Iran were to become a nuclear power, there would be plenty of blame to go around. A National Intelligence Report, issued on President George W. Bush's watch, distorted the truth by suggestion that Iran had ended its quest for nuclear weapons. It also withheld the fact that U.S. intelligence had discovered a nuclear facility near Qum, Iran, that could be used only for the production of nuclear weapons. Chamberlain, too, was not entirely to blame for Hitler's initial triumphs. He became prime minister after his predecessors allowed Germany to rearm. Nevertheless, it is Chamberlain who has come to symbolize the failure to prevent Hitler's ascendancy. So too will Mr. Obama come to symbolize the failure of the West if Iran acquires nuclear weapons on his watch.



It's Tea Partiers and Republicans against the elitist Democrats

America’s current political war is less a struggle between the Left and the Right than one between populism, represented, however imperfectly, by the “big R” Republicans, and the elitism of President Obama.

Obama is so extremely elitist as to blithely torture, and possibly destroy, the Democratic Party itself.

An article in the March 15th New Yorker, “Obama’s Lost Year,” by George Packer, contains a telling detail about the White House decision-making process, noting that “… the surest way to win Obama over to your view is to tell him it’s the hard, unpopular, but correct decision.” Key word? Unpopular.

Small "r" republicanism neatly is summed up by the Wikipedia: “Citizens choose their leaders and the people … have an impact on [their] government.” Republicanism is the antithesis of elitism, of which monarchy is the extreme form. Our president is, in spirit, a modern monarchist.

The Gallup poll invariably shows that about 40 percent of Americans identify themselves as conservatives, while 20 percent are liberals, and 40 percent are independents.

A pattern can be traced back to our national beginnings. About 40 percent of colonial Americans favored the American Revolution, 20 percent were loyal to the Crown, and 40 percent were uninvolved, according to historian Robert Calhoon in his “'A companion to the American Revolution.”

Behold a law of nature, “the 40-20-40 rule,” and call it “Bell’s Postulate,” after Jeffrey Bell, author of the defining modern classic, “Populism and Elitism.”

By placing himself in opposition to the popular will, and treating this opposition as a virtue, Obama aligns himself with the spirit of monarchy. He takes it as a virtue to thwart the consent of the governed.

Our “Mr. President” makes inappropriately deep, cringe-worthy, bows to the Emperor of Japan and the King of Saudi Arabia because … Obama is, if not exactly the King of America, the crown prince of an elitist/monarchist faction self-styled as “Liberal.”He knowingly sacrifices his, and his political party’s popularity and legitimacy, on the altar of elitism.

Thousands of Tea Party Patriots descended upon the Capitol March 16th to oppose the health care bill. Hundreds of thousands flooded the Capitol Switchboard in protest. Millions will assemble to petition the government for the redress of grievances on April 15.

Meanwhile, the White House launches elitist salvo after salvo, including more bailouts, cap and trade (under which, in Obama’s own words, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket”), proposals to gut teacher accountability, and to expropriate the Internet. Obama’s elitism intensifies daily.

Pollster Scott Rasmussen may have written the most important book for this moment, “In Search of Self Governance.” Rasmussen summarizes by saying “Americans don’t want to be governed from the left, the right or the center. They want to govern themselves. The American desire for – and attachment to – self-governance runs deep.”

What is at stake today is identical to the stakes of the American Revolution itself. It is a battle between those who respect republicanism and those who reverence elitist rule.

From our very beginnings, only 40 percent of us supported republican principles and could accurately be called populists. Another 20 percent were monarchists in support of centralized command and control; they were elitists.

The prospects of the original revolutionary republicans often were dire. Thomas Paine, on a drumhead by firelight in Gen. George Washington’s camp wrote: “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

Against ferocious odds, the republican minority prevailed against the elite-supported monarchist faction. Against ferocious odds, republican forces have continued, and will continue despite tactical setbacks, to prevail against resurgent elitism.




US House passes “health reform” amendments: "The House of Representatives cleared the final hurdle in Congress’ overhaul of the nation’s health care system, passing a health care reconciliation bill by a 220-207 vote. The amendment bill, which included the fixes made to the Senate version of the health care bill, will now go to President Obama for his signature. The Senate passed the legislation this afternoon by a 56-43 margin after defeating 41 amendments offered by Republicans.”

Bond markets reflect the true cost of Obamacare: "Not many people noticed amid the Democrats' struggle to jam their health care bill through the House, but in recent weeks United States Treasury bonds have lost their status as the world's safest investment. The numbers are pretty clear. In February, Bloomberg News reports, Berkshire Hathaway sold two-year bonds with an interest rate lower than that on two-year Treasuries. A company run by a 79-year-old investor is a better credit risk, the markets are telling us, than the United States government. Buffett's firm isn't the only one. Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and Lowe's have been borrowing money at cheaper rates than Uncle Sam."

Poll: 79% Say U.S. Economy Could Collapse: "The latest Fox News poll finds that 79 percent of voters think it’s possible the economy could collapse, including large majorities of Democrats (72 percent), Republicans (84 percent) and independents (80 percent). Most American voters believe it’s possible the nation’s economy could collapse, and majorities don’t think elected officials in Washington have ideas for fixing it. Just 18 percent think the economy is "so big and strong it could never collapse." Moreover, 78 percent of voters believe the federal government is "larger and more costly" than it has ever been before, and by nearly three-to-one more voters think the national debt (65 percent) is a greater potential threat to the country’s future than terrorism (23 percent)."

Gas up $1 a gallon on Obama's watch: "Gas prices have risen $1 since just after President Obama took office in January 2009 and are now closing in on the $3 mark, prompting an evaluation of the administration's energy record and calls for the White House to open more U.S. land for oil exploration. The average price per gallon across the U.S. hit $2.81 this week, according to the Energy Information Administration. That was up from $1.81 the week of Jan. 26, 2009, just after the inauguration, and marks the highest price since Oct. 20, 2008. Gas prices have been on a roller-coaster ride over the past decade, dropping to near $1 after President George W. Bush's first year in office"

Average Americans' words harsh for Obama: "Certain robust public perceptions about President Obama have surfaced among average citizens rather than so-called "wingnuts" and "lunatic fringe." A Harris Poll released Wednesday found that 40 percent of Americans say Mr. Obama is a socialist, a third think he's a Muslim, a quarter think he was not even born in the U.S., is not eligible to be president and is a "domestic enemy that the U.S. Constitution speaks of. Among other things, the poll also found that three-out-of-10 Americans think Mr. Obama "wants to turn over the sovereignty of the U.S. to a one-world government." About an equal number - 29 percent - said he had "done many things that are unconstitutional" while 27 percent said "he resents America's heritage."

GE Exploits Reagan Legacy to misrepresent itself: "In response to GE's recent announcement of its sponsorship commemorating the Centennial Celebration of President Ronald Reagan's birth, today the Free Enterprise Project of the National Center for Public Policy Research is criticizing GE CEO Jeff Immelt for exploiting Reagan's legacy to curry favor with conservatives. "I'm outraged over Immelt's shameless exploitation of President Reagan's historic presidency to improve GE's reputation among conservatives. Reagan is the champion of conservatives because he fought for liberty and limited government. In contrast, Immelt uses GE's vast lobbying resources to expand the size and role of government in order to create markets for its products and loot Americans of their liberty," said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., Director of the Free Enterprise Project. Borelli notes that GE is an aggressive supporter of cap-and-trade legislation"

No ObamaCare for Obama: "President Obama declared that the new health care law "is going to be affecting every American family." Except his own, of course. The new health care law exempts the president from having to participate in it. Leadership and committee staffers in the House and Senate who wrote the bill are exempted as well. A weasel-worded definition of "staff" includes only the members' personal staff in the new system; the committee staff that drafted the legislation opted themselves out. Because they were more familiar with the contents of the law than anyone in the country, it says a lot that they carved out their own special loophole."

Moscow: US-Russia nuclear deal has some worried: "A sweeping new bargain to slash the offensive nuclear arsenals of Russia and the US — what they used to call the ‘balance of terror’ — appears almost ready for Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama to sign. Unofficial sources say the signing may take place as early as April 8, in Prague, Czech Republic, the venerable eastern European capital in which Mr. Obama launched his campaign for a nuclear weapons-free world just one year ago. Experts say the new agreement, designed to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, will reduce strategic nuclear warheads by one-quarter, to around 1,600 on each side, and halve the number of delivery vehicles — missiles, bombers, and submarines — to 800 for each country.”

They fly first class … on your dime: "“Will you and your family put off a vacation this year because you can’t afford it? Too bad, because you have paid for some terrific trips — for government bureaucrats. The Washington Times reports that last year $13 billion in tax dollars was spent to pamper ‘public servants’ on trips that double as vacation junkets. The Securities and Exchange Commission, for example, frequently sent employees overseas on first- or business-class airplane tickets that cost taxpayers up to $10,000 each … Likewise, agencies spend millions sending employees to private industry trade shows that just happen to be in resort locations such as Las Vegas. The Department of Commerce spent $7.5 million on conferences of this sort in 2007.”

Is WikiLeaks being tailed by the government?: "For those unfamiliar with document hosting site WikiLeaks.org, here’s a little primer for you. WikiLeaks acts as the internet’s Fort Knox for the whistle blowers of the world. … According to tweets from Wikileak insiders, members of their editorial advisory board are being tailed by State Department and CIA officials, and have been shown ominous photos taken secretly during their production meetings.”

Why the mainstream media panders to statism: "It stands to reason that the mainstream media is supportive of statism. It loves things that cause drama. Murders get ratings and so do government actions. The health care takeover is just one example. It isn’t big news that people can take care of their own needs if government steps aside. However, the resistance and opposition to this scheme has the possibility of getting very dramatic and messy.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


25 March, 2010

Obama’s Alliance With Iran

By "Spengler"

Ralph Peters’ op-ed in today’s New York Post shows that our putative allies in Afghanistan as well as Iraq are in bed with Iran. He argues that it’s a blunder. It will be a blunder, but it’s actually Obama’s policy, and it was spelled out by now Defense Secretary Gates and Zbignew Brzezinski back in 2004. It’s as bad as Peters says it is, and then some.

“It’s wretched enough that our ‘friend’ Ahmed Chalabi has become Iran’s point man in Iraq. Now ‘our man in Kabu,’ President Hamid Karzai, is quietly shifting his loyalty to Tehran,” Peters writes.

Peters continues:
Beyond Iranian President Mahmud Ahmedinejad’s recent chummy visit to Karzai — reported by the media but played down by Washington — Iran’s been training Taliban forces to kill our troops more efficiently.

Karzai hasn’t complained. Nor has he objected to Tehran’s expansion of its support for its clients in western Afghanistan. He wants that support for himself.
Where I disagree with Peters is in the matter of the administration’s intent. In a March 16 “Spengler” column for Asia Times Online, I quoted State Department officials’ on-record invitation to Iran to play a major role in Afghanistan. Getting Iran involved IS the administration’s “exit strategy.” Obama wants an ALLIANCE with Iran. And that’s why he picked a fight with Netanyahu over the non-issue of apartment construction in a part of North Jerusalem that every draft piece plan agrees will remain Israeli. If Israel hits Iran’s nuclear capacity, the deal is off.

As I wrote March 16:
Despite the enormous difference in outlook between the last administration and the present one, there is an underlying continuity in Washington’s stance towards Iran, due to the facts on the ground put in place by Iran itself. I wrote on this site in October 2005, shortly after Ahmadinejad came to power:

I do not believe any formal understanding is in place, but the probable outcome is that Washington will refrain from military action to forestall any Iranian nuclear arms developments, while Tehran will refrain from disrupting Washington’s constitutional Potemkin Village in Iraq. Tehran thinks strategically, as befits a country with a government newly elected by an overwhelming majority, while Washington thinks politically. President George W Bush is struggling to persuade the American public of the wisdom of his nation-building scheme in Iraq, and badly wants the Iranians to keep their hands in their pockets. Iran is prepared to do so as long as America keeps its opposition to its nuclear program within the confines of the diplomatic cul-de-sac defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency. (See A Syriajevo in the making?, Asia Times Online, October 25, 2005)

Nation-building in Iraq is the tar baby that has entrapped American foreign policy. The notion that the United States should take responsibility for the political evolution of a country cooked up by British cartographers with the explicit purpose of keeping Sunni Arabs, Shi’ite Arabs and Kurds at each others’ throats, ranks as one of the great political delusions of the past century. Since the American invasion in 2003, it always has been in Iran’s power to make the country ungovernable. More important to Iran, though, is the potential acquisition of nuclear weapons. Should it become a nuclear power, Iran could set its cats’ paws in Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan to whatever task it chose with far less fear of American retribution.

The Obama administration’s abortive opening to Iran always aimed at obtaining Iranian help in stabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan, among other things by soliciting Tehran’s good offices with the Shi’ite Hazara minority in Afghanistan. Iran has ties both to the Hazara as well as to their mortal enemies, the Sunni Taliban, and keeps its options open. Its prospective influence in Afghanistan is potent enough to panic the US – Secretary of Defense Robert Gates arrived in Kabul unannounced on March 8, the same day that Ahmadinejad was expected in the Afghan capital, prompting the Iranian president to postpone his trip by two days. Gates’ unexpected trip was interpreted as a pre-emptive action against Iranian influence. Karzai embraced his Iranian counterpart as a friend and ally.

As Asia Times Online’s M K Bhadrakumar wrote on March 13: “Karzai can hope to tap into Iran’s influence with various Afghan groups, which traditionally focused on the Persian-speaking Tajiks and Hazara Shi’ites but today also extends to segments of the Pashtun population. Significantly, Ahmedinejad was received on Wednesday at Kabul airport by the Northern Alliance leader Mohammed Fahim, who has become the first vice president in Karzai’s new government despite strong opposition from the US and Britain.” (See A titanic power struggle in Kabul, Asia Times Online, March 13)

The United States responded to Ahmadinejad’s Afghan visit by paying obeisance to Iran’s influence. “The future of Afghanistan has a regional dimension and we hope that Iran will play a more constructive role in Afghanistan in the future,” said US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley. He added in the past, the US and Iran have “cooperated constructively” and hoped that they would do so again, given that Iran has “a legitimate interest in the future of Afghanistan”.

The answer to the question: “What is Obama’s exit strategy from Afghanistan?” – is a Great Gamelet in which Iran and Pakistan work out a power-sharing arrangement in Afghanistan and establish a miniature balance of power between Sunnis and Shi’ites. All that is missing is Johnny Depp in Mad Hatter makeup replacing Richard Holbrooke as AfPak czar, distributing 3-D glasses to the diplomatic corps.
Outrageous, but true.

Solution to the next mystery: Why is General Petraeus going around saying that Israeli intransigence is putting American lives at risk in the Middle East?

In order to make Iraq look better than it was and to make Petraeus surge look like a success, the Bush administration made a conscious decision to treat Iran carefully — Bush was as emphatic as Obama in dissuading the Israelis from striking Iranian nuclear capability.

Petraeus made his reputation with the surge knowing perfectly well that if Iran wanted to jack up the list of US casualties, it could.

When he says that Israel is endangering American lives, the question is — how? Who is going to kill Americans? The Egyptians are virtually allied with Israel now — they let Israeli subs and missile boats through the Suez Canal. The only possible answer is: the Iranians, via their proxies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Provoke Iran, and Americans will die. JCS Chief Admiral Mullen has been saying the same thing for some time. These are officers whose careers advanced on the strength of a de facto deal with the Iranians and now they are stuck with it. And that’s why they are dumping on Israel: if Israel hits Iran, the whole American “exit strategy” (based on a silly balance of power game involving Iran) falls apart.



Oh, Canada!

by Ann Coulter

Since arriving in Canada I've been accused of thought crimes, threatened with criminal prosecution for speeches I hadn't yet given, and denounced on the floor of the Parliament (which was nice because that one was on my "bucket list").

Posters advertising my speech have been officially banned, while posters denouncing me are plastered all over the University of Ottawa campus. Elected officials have been prohibited from attending my speeches. Also, the local clothing stores are fresh out of brown shirts. Welcome to Canada!

The provost of the University of Ottawa, average student IQ: 0, wrote to me -- widely disseminating his letter to at least a half-dozen intermediaries before it reached me -- in advance of my visit in order to recommend that I familiarize myself with Canada's criminal laws regarding hate speech. This marks the first time I've ever gotten hate mail for something I might do in the future.

Apparently Canadian law forbids "promoting hatred against any identifiable group," which the provost, Francois A. Houle advised me, "would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges." I was given no specific examples of what words and phrases I couldn't use, but I take it I'm not supposed to say, "F--- you, Francois."

While it was a relief to know that it is still permissible in Canada to promote hatred against unidentifiable groups, upon reading Francois' letter, I suddenly realized that I had just been the victim of a hate crime! And it was committed by Francois A. Houle (French for "Frank A. Hole").

What other speakers get a warning not to promote hatred? Did Francois A. Houle send a similarly worded letter to Israel-hater Omar Barghouti before he spoke last year at U of Ottawa? ("Ottawa": Indian for "Land of the Bed-Wetters.")

How about Angela Davis, Communist Party member and former Black Panther who spoke at the University of Zero just last month?

Or do only conservatives get letters admonishing them to be civil? Or -- my suspicion -- is it only conservative women who fuel Francois' rage?

How about sending a letter to all Muslim speakers advising them to please bathe once a week while in Canada? Would that constitute a hate crime?

I'm sure Canada's Human Rights Commission will get to the bottom of Francois' strange warning to me, inasmuch as I will be filing a complaint with that august body, so I expect they will be reviewing every letter the university has sent to other speakers prior to their speeches to see if any of them were threatened with criminal prosecution.

Both writer Mark Steyn and editor Ezra Levant have been investigated by the Human Rights Commission for promoting hatred toward Muslims.

Levant's alleged crime was to reprint the cartoons of Mohammed originally published in a Danish newspaper, leading practitioners of the Religion of Peace to engage in murderous violence across the globe. Steyn's alleged crime was to publish an excerpt of his book, "America Alone" in Maclean's magazine, in which he jauntily described Muslims as "hot for jihad."

Both of them also flew jet airliners full of passengers into skyscrapers in lower Manhattan, resulting in thousands of deaths. No, wait -- that was somebody else.

Curiously, however, there was no evidence that either the cartoons or the column did, in fact, incite hatred toward Muslims -- nor was there the remotest possibility that they would.

By contrast, conservative speakers are regularly subjected to violent attacks on college campuses. Bill Kristol, Pat Buchanan, David Horowitz and I have all been the targets of infamous campus attacks.

That's why the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute (a sponsor of my Canada speeches) and the Young America's Foundation (a sponsor of many of my college speeches) don't send conservatives to college campuses without a bodyguard.

You'd have to be a real A-Houle not to anticipate that accusing a conservative of "promoting hatred" prior to her arrival on a college campus would in actuality -- not in liberal fantasies of terrified Muslims cowering in terror of Mark Steyn readers -- incite real-world violence toward the conservative......

If a university official's letter accusing a speaker of having a proclivity to commit speech crimes before she's given the speech -- which then leads to Facebook postings demanding that Ann Coulter be hurt, a massive riot and a police-ordered cancellation of the speech -- is not hate speech, then there is no such thing as hate speech.

Either Francois goes to jail or the Human Rights Commission is a hoax and a fraud.



BrookesNews Update

Will the US economy survive Obama's economic policies? : The sheer magnitude of Obama's tax and spending program is completely unprecedented. It fiscal weight is such that if it is allowed to go unchecked it will do to the American economy what similar policies did to Argentina
Is the Chinese economy running out of steam? : If the present trend continues manufacturing will start to contract and the recession will then rapidly spread down China's production structure. Of course, the government can only push down on the monetary accelerator. But in a sense this is where monetary and capital theory combine to produce an unstable and highly explosive mixture
U.S. government, on its way to bankruptcy, part 1: The U.S. government has gross debt outstanding of $12 trillion. Depending on the source and calculation methodology, the U.S. government is on the hook for an additional $50 to $100 trillion more in unfunded liabilities. Using $75 trillion as the proxy for unfunded liabilities, that's debt plus unfunded liabilities of 6 times GDP and an eye-popping 41 times 2009 receipts. This is a recipe for disaster
Tony Abbot's maternity leave fiasco : Tony Abbot's proposal to impose a maternity levy on those businesses that have the audacity to generate a taxable income in excess of $5 million dollars is another example of the Liberal Party's incompetence, opportunism and absence of economic credentials
Soderbergh's Che and historical accuracy, Part II : Surprise, surprise, Steven Soderbergh, the mastermind behind that outrageous piece of agitprop called Che, turns out to be another nasty little leftist liar. We now learn that the script was basically supervised by none other than the sadistic Castro: mass murderer, drug runner, terrorist sponsor and Hollywood's favourite Marxist thug
Thoughts on the benefits of share market diversification : The use of sophisticated mathematics and probabilities in compliance with the modern portfolio theory misses he entire point of an investor-entrepreneur activity



The latest Leftist attempt to tear down America's military: “The Pentagon is scheduled to announce Thursday that it will relax enforcement of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ rules that prevent gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military, a decision that officials described as a temporary measure until Congress can take permanent action. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is expected to announce that the military will no longer investigate the sexual orientation of service members based on anonymous complaints, will restrict testimony from third parties and will require high-ranking officers to review all cases, sources familiar with the changes said"

More sanctions against Iran are not the answer: “Because President Barack Obama’s attempt to entice Iran to give up its nuclear program has ended in unsurprising failure, he is now trying to ratchet up the pressure on the regime by leading the drive to increase international economic sanctions. However, even if he were to succeed in getting Russia and China to go along in the United Nations Security Council, the measures would probably be unsuccessful in achieving their stated goal.”

Prepare for the worst and hope for the best: "Never in the history of our country have there been so many people who believe they are ‘entitled’ simply because they exist. America’s current economic crisis and the exorbitant amount of personal debt is evidence of this twisted mentality. Over several generations society has taught the wrong values resulting in a populace that is totally clueless when it comes to right and wrong or basic respect for other peoples rights. We are facing the downfall of society as we know it and the price will be mind numbing.”

The fix is in: "Americans would do well to ponder a recent admission by a former British minister in the Blair government. On March 2, the Guardian reported that the ex-minister, now Lord Warner, said that while spending on Britain’s National Health Service had increased by 60 percent under the Labour government, its output had decreased by 4 percent. No doubt the spending of a Soviet-style organization like the NHS is more easily measurable than its output, but the former minister’s remark certainly accords with the experiences of many citizens, who see no dramatic improvement in the service as a result of such vastly increased outlays. On the contrary, while the service has taken on 400,000 new staff members — that is to say, one-fifth of all new jobs created in Britain during the period — continuity of medical care has been all but extinguished.”

The reality of Obamacare: "The Obama administration has turned the insurance industry into the Blackwater of socialized medicine. That’s what Obama always had in mind. During the now-legendary health-care summit, Obama, who loves to talk about ‘risk pools,’ ‘competition, ‘consumer choice,’ and the like, let it slip that he actually doesn’t believe in insurance as commonly understood. … A risk pool is an actuarial device where a lot of people pay a small sum to cover themselves against a ‘rainy day’ problem that will affect only a few people. Such ‘peace of mind’ health insurance is gone. What we have now is health assurance. With health assurance, there are no ‘risk pools’ really, only payment plans.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


24 March, 2010

Blog suspended

Now that the battle against socialized medicine in America is largely over, I have decided to suspend publication of my SOCIALIZED MEDICINE blog. I will of course still be posting on the issue when matters of particular interest arise but I will do so on this blog from now on -- as you will see below. My AUSTRALIAN POLITICS blog will also continue to cover the disasters of socialized medicine in Australia.


Healthy tax increases, not only on wealthy

Half-trillion dollars over 10 years to pay for bill

When it comes to the taxes associated with the new health care bill, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s assessment stands: It's a big — very big — deal.

The historic overhaul of the nation's health care system that President Obama signed Tuesday, when combined with the fixes making their way through Congress, will raise taxes over the next 10 years by more than a half-trillion dollars.

The tax increases range from hundreds of billions of dollars in new Medicare levies, including one that taxes investment income such as capital gains and dividends for the first time, to a 10 percent excise tax on indoor tanning services that will raise less than $3 billion over the next decade.

Imposing a Medicare tax on investment income "would reduce demand for investment, which is the last thing that the economy needs right now. It would slow [economic] recovery, reduce employment opportunities and hinder wage growth," said Karen Campbell of the conservative Heritage Foundation. "Less investment, lower investment values and lower wages hinder the ability of households to build wealth."

Under a procedure that doesn't require a 60-vote majority for approval, the Senate is considering a package of changes to the new health care law to placate House members' concerns about the Senate bill, which the lower chamber approved Sunday with no Republican support. Among other things, the Senate must approve the numerous tax-law changes that the House passed in a second bill Sunday to fix the upper chamber's December proposal.

By far the biggest tax increase — more than $210 billion from 2012 through 2019 —. involves Medicare, the $500 billion federal health care program for the elderly and disabled. Medicare taxes would be raised in two ways.

First, the new law increases the Medicare payroll tax on employee wages and salaries from 1.45 percent to 2.35 percent on earnings above a certain amount — $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples who file jointly. The employer's share would remain at 1.45 percent for all wages and salaries — creating an effective 3.8 percent tax rate for income in those higher brackets.

Second, for the first time ever, the bill would apply Medicare taxes to several forms of "unearned income" — capital gains, dividends, interest, royalties and other sources besides wages and salaries — above the $200,000 and $250,000 thresholds. The individual or couple must pay the whole 3.8 percent Medicare tax because there is no employer with whom to split the bill on "unearned income."

Consider a married couple who earn $300,000, divided evenly between salaries and capital gains. Their total salary income of $150,000 would be subject to the combined 2.9 percent Medicare tax — split evenly between employee and employer. The first $100,000 in capital gains would not be subject to any Medicare tax, but the couple would have to pay a 3.8 percent Medicare tax on the last $50,000 in capital gains.

The two Medicare provisions "would improve both tax equity and economic efficiency," said Chuck Marr of the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, who notes that the two taxes would affect "only the 2.6 percent of U.S. households with the highest incomes." Mr. Marr reports that 91 percent of the increase in Medicare taxes would be paid by people earning more than $500,000.



An Off-Budget Office?

by Thomas Sowell

Under the headline "Costly Bill Seen as Saving Money," the San Francisco Chronicle last week began a front-page story with these words: "Many people find it hard to understand how the health care legislation heading for a decisive vote Sunday can cost $940 billion and cut the horrendous federal deficit at the same time."

It's not hard to understand at all. It is a lie.

What makes this particular lie pass muster with many people, who might otherwise use their common sense, is that the Congressional Budget Office vouched for the consistency of the budget numbers that say you can add millions of people to a government-run system and yet save money.

The Congressional Budget Office does honest work. But it can only use the numbers that Congress supplies-- and Congress does dishonest work. It is not the CBO's job to give their opinion as to whether any of the marvelous things that Congress says it will do in the future are either likely or possible.

The Congressional Budget Office is like a computer: Garbage in, garbage out. The numbers in the health care bill are especially smelly garbage.

Do we really need a government agency to give us a false sense of security? Don't we already have politicians to do that? Weren't they doing that at the height of the housing boom that preceded the collapse, which then brought down the whole financial system and the whole economy? Many warnings were brushed aside by Barney Frank, Christopher Dodd and many others in Congress.

What we really need-- and will never get-- is a Congressional Off-Budget Office. This would be an agency that does not have to accept whatever numbers Congress sends them and pretend to take those numbers seriously.

An independent agency could add up all of the government's financial liabilities, whether they are in the official budget or not. For example, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which guarantees bank accounts, has only a fraction of the money that it is supposed to have on hand to see that people's life savings don't get wiped out when a bank fails.

No administration of either party is going to let people's life savings get wiped out. That would be political suicide. FDIC is definitely too big to fail. But none of the billions of dollars that will be necessary to pour into FDIC at some point, as banks continue to fail and the FDIC's reserves continue to shrink, appears in the official budget numbers that the CBO sees.

It is a similar story with the Federal Housing Administration, which has what the Wall Street Journal calls "razor thin reserves" as it goes around the country, merrily guaranteeing ever larger mortgages for ever larger numbers of people, while 14 percent of those mortgages are already delinquent.

When the FHA is finally scraping the bottom of the barrel, trying to come up with the money to redeem all the reckless-- but politically popular-- guarantees it is making, where do you think that additional money they need will come from? From taxpayers-- current and future.

But none of this money is in the official federal budget that the Congressional Budget Office sees. There are many other financial liabilities of the government that are "off-budget," which means that they do not show up in the official numbers.

What if an individual operated this way? If you are 80 years old, and your assets exactly balance your liabilities, you're in good shape, right? Wrong.

At your age, you know that there may be some big medical bills coming, somewhere down the road. If you have been following politics-- which may be bad for your blood pressure-- you know that the mountainous federal deficits that extend into the future, as far as the eye can see, are likely to set off inflation that will silently steal a big chunk of the value of whatever money you have put aside for your old age. But none of that shows up in the numbers measuring your current assets and liability.

Moreover, at 80 years of age, you are not likely to be able to resume a career and make anything like the money you once made. What can you do? Unlike the federal government, you cannot just send your official numbers over to the Congressional Budget Office and have them announce that you are in great financial shape.



Israel spat no worry for Democrats

Domestic issues seen as more pressing

The Obama administration's spat with Israel over Jewish settlement activity in occupied East Jerusalem is unlikely to hurt Democrats politically in any major way, primarily because of voters' preoccupation with domestic issues, such as health care and the economy, analysts say.

The administration's actions, they say, also indicate that it is not very worried about domestic political consequences. Not only has it refused to back off its demands, but this week it again clashed publicly with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about what is in Israel's interests.

"They are not letting Netanyahu off the hook," said Michele Dunne, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "They clearly see some utility in airing their disagreements with him in public."

According to polls, President Obama is seen by many Americans as being tougher on Israel than his predecessors, but that is unlikely to become a major issue in this year's midterm elections, said John R. Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in the George W. Bush administration.

"Unfortunately, there is an overwhelming emphasis on domestic issues, and it's difficult to break through the economic news — and when you add health care, this is one more problem many people don't want to have," Mr. Bolton said.

In fact, Ms. Dunne said, Mr. Obama may be more emboldened to maintain pressure on Israel now that he has had a domestic success in passing health care reform. The failure to do that last fall was one of the reasons the president "backed down from a confrontation" with Mr. Netanyahu at the time, she said.

At the same time, Mr. Obama is unlikely to escalate his dispute with the Israeli leader and "distract public attention from this week's story line of success on social domestic legislation," said Daniel Levy, co-director of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation.

Mr. Levy, who was a special adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak — the current defense minister — in the late 1990s, said that a "vocal mobilized minority" of Jewish Americans most likely will try to make the dispute an election issue, but they will not be successful.

"The vast majority of American Jewish voters in November won't be basing their vote on this spat," he said. "A small minority for Jewish Democrats will raise it, and part of the Republican base will use it as one of many mobilizing vehicles, but those voters will be mobilized anyway — though, on margins, it could raise money for certain candidates."

Members of Congress from both parties have urged the administration to end the dispute, which began with Israel's announcement of 1,600 new housing units just as Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. arrived in the Jewish state two weeks ago. Lawmakers have signaled that they care more than the administration about domestic perceptions.



Redistribution justification

The Left's favorite mantra justifying income redistribution is "excessive benefit from Bush policies." The liberal illogic goes that "the wealthy" have been receiving too much and paying too little and should now make it up with higher taxes. The flaws in this slanted reasoning are many. The danger in it is even greater.

For those who missed it, let's recount what "the wealthy's excessive benefit" was. For one thing, they got to pay a top federal tax rate of 35 percent. That means the federal government got to take over a third of everything they earned. In reality, it means "the wealthy" got to keep well less than 65 cents of every dollar they made, once state and local taxes are added to the federal tax rate.

This "too-low" top rate means that "the wealthy" paid taxes at the same federal rate as corporations. Of course, as many correctly argue, the corporate tax rate is too high to be globally competitive. The fear is that businesses and investment will migrate abroad. For some reason, the same concern does not exist for top individual producers.

If the wealthy's gains are ill-gotten, then wouldn't justice be better and more quickly served to prosecute, rather than persecute, them? There rightly was no hesitation with Bernie Madoff. Seeking to tax the wealthy to justice is the least efficient manner for redressing the Left's claimed wrong. Unless, of course, you presume that all the wealthy's gains are ill-gotten…

Top earners' real "crime" is success. What do they do with their excessive benefits? Invest, save, and start businesses. All of which employ others and give customers goods at the lowest possible prices. Criminal.

Who are these insanely wealthy souls? A married couple making over $374,000 this year would qualify for the top tax rate. It is impossible to put a face on them though -- because their ranks change every year. As people age, they migrate through the tax rates -- the "wealthy" one year, were likely "poor" earlier, and will likely return to lower tax rates again as they reach retirement.

This income migration points out the dangerous but implicit element of the Left's redistribution justification. Raising present taxes in order to penalize past benefits smacks of retroactivity. As income migration shows, it is a very imprecise imposition -- people who had lower tax rates in the past may no longer be in the top income group next year, and people in the top income group next year, may not have been in the top over the previous decade. No matter to the Left.

The retroactive nature of the Left's justification should indeed be a concern to the rest of us though. It is more dangerous than the taxes themselves. It not only offers an unlimited rationale for raising future taxes, but leaves neither amount nor type of income immune from its rearward reach.

By all competent projections, Washington is on an unsustainable spending path. Generated by entitlements and inertia, there is no effort on the Left to avoid excessive spending. Its demand will therefore turn for more and more revenue. The two largest pots will be in baby-boomer savings and middle class earnings. If someone's past success can justify a reach-back revenue-grab, what makes retirement accounts safe? If someone can be deemed to have benefitted "excessively," why does anyone have comfort that today's middle class do not become tomorrow's wealthy?

We can never rest secure in liberals' limits because there is no limit for liberals. The Left thinks in non-economic terms and acts under anti-economic rules. Under its system, there are no market forces to align supply to demand. Therefore there are no means to enforce boundaries on actions. There are only the Left's own good intent and the inherent belief that it can order society better than society and markets can order themselves.

Thus liberals can not tell us how much "the wealthy" need pay in taxes. Already those in the top tax bracket pay almost 35 percent of all federal income taxes paid in the U.S. This despite the fact that they make up less than four percent of federal taxpayers. How much more a burden should they shoulder? The Left cannot be more precise than to simply say "more."

The Left should say what it means. If it believes America is under-taxed -- in whole or in part -- it should say so. If it believes that Washington must have more revenue because spending cannot be cut -- it should make the claim. Of course, it will say neither, because America would reject both assertions.

For this reason, the Left rarely says what they mean. But the Left does mean what it says. And often far more. The problem is America just does not listen.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


23 March, 2010

Tehran's terrible future, and maybe America's too

It was a sobering read. In 1950, Samuel Glasstone's "The Effects of Atomic Weapons" provided the first unclassified explanation of the physical destruction caused by nuclear weapons. The book's descriptions were detailed, clinically precise ... and terrifying. For decades, it remained the authoritative source on the topic. Only one problem: It wasn't always right. Take this conclusion: "The shock wave produced by an air-burst atomic bomb is the most important agent in producing destruction. ..."

For years, military planners used that insight to estimate the scope of destruction wrought by a mushroom cloud. They were way off. In "Whole World on Fire" (2003), Lynn Eden argues that focusing on shock waves led planners to significantly underestimate the destructive power of atomic warfare because they didn't take into account the damage done by mass fire. Analysts had concluded it was difficult to predict the effects of fire and, because it was only a secondary agent of destruction, they simply omitted fire from their calculations.

Big mistake, Eden says. Recent research suggests that nuclear weapons are much more destructive than previously thought because of the effect of mass fire. At the moment of detonation, the heart of an atomic fireball is four to five times hotter than the sun. It generates a firestorm of hurricane-force winds. Air temperature soars above the boiling point.

Both Washington and Tehran have much to learn from this. The people of Iran should realize the terrible price they may pay due to their president's relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons. For Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, nukes are more than a status symbol. He views them as a useful tool. He publicly yearns to bring about the "death of Israel" and live in "a world without America." Nukes are the way to reach these goals. Give this delusional dreamer a nuclear weapon and a missile to deliver it, and he'll be only too eager to threaten his enemies with nuclear holocaust.

That, of course, would only invite atomic retaliation ... the type that would obliterate Iran. Ahmadinejad is an existential threat to his own people. And that's reason enough for Iranians to take back their country.

The lesson for Washington is that the United States, a long-established nuclear power, must act like a responsible one. President Obama has started a mad dash down the "road to zero" -- with the announced goal of eliminating our nuclear arsenal. It's a path more likely to end in a nuclear firestorm than in peace.

Why? The danger starts with the administration's refusal to fully modernize our nuclear weapons. Our aging inventory is increasingly less usable and reliable. The continuing erosion of a credible deterrent force will only invite aggression. Moreover, slashing U.S. arsenals may well spur a news arms race. It may encourage emerging atomic enemies such as Iran and North Korea to "pick up the pace" to become our nuclear equals. That in turn could spark other nations wary of these rogue regimes to fast-track their own nuclear programs. Instead of easing tensions, our nuclear drawdown could ratchet up worldwide instability.

The administration has compounded its nuclear error by hobbling our missile defense program. War gaming exercises consistently show missile defenses not only deter attacks, they deter others from even building up their arsenals. Why build missiles when they'll just be shot down?

A world on fire is horrific vision of the future. The Iranian administration views it as glorious, while our administration steadfastly averts its gaze. It should worry peace-loving Iranians and Americans alike.



How NY Times Coverage Buries Middle East Reality

In my entire life I have rarely read an article which simultaneously showed the need to be well-informed before reading a newspaper and the shocking shortcomings of mass media coverage of the Middle East than this minor piece about the reopening of the Cairo synagogue. I've never said this before but will now: If you want to understand the Middle East's reality and how it is distorted in the media, read the following anlysis. Have a little patience and I think you will see precisely what I mean.

There are four huge-gigantic-gaps in this article that show how the Middle East story is being missed. The word "gap" here is polite. I can think of a number of less polite words defining the combination of whitewash and ignorance displayed here. Here is the link. Go and read the short piece if you want to see if you can spot them, then come back and read my response. Or, if you prefer, read my analysis first. It's up to you.

Ok, here we go. The headline for this story is, "A Synagogue's Unveiling Exposes a Conundrum." So, naturally, you want to know what the conundrum was. The article explains: "The restoration project, and its muted unveiling, exposed a conundrum Egyptian society has struggled with since its leadership made peace with Israel three decades ago: How to balance the demands of Western capitals and a peace process that relies on Egypt to work with Israel with a public antipathy for Israel."

So here is point number one-how can the article not even mention the Egyptian government's own role in stoking public antipathy toward Israel? Of course, this antagonism is also the product of history and to a considerable extent comes from the public itself. Yet day after day, the Egyptian government's religious, educational, media, and other institutions preach slander and hatred. toward Israel. There is no effort in terms of communication with the public to reduce antagonism.

Let me make it clear: I am not blaming Egypt's government for the very existence of "public antipathy," but not to mention its role in this process at all is shocking. The effect is to play down the role of regimes, even moderate ones, in so heating up the atmosphere as to make full peace and normalization close to impossible. Their fault, as opposed to criticism of Israel for the lack of resolution in the conflict, gets buried.

Here's point two. One of the main people quoted in the article is Zahi Hawass, general secretary of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities. Here is what it says about him: "'This is an Egyptian monument; if you do not restore a part of your history you lose everything,'" said Zahi Hawass, the general secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, which approved and oversaw the project. "I love the Jews, they are our cousins! But the Israelis, what they are doing against the Palestinians is insane. I will do anything to restore and preserve the synagogue, but celebration, I cannot accept."

Later his role is again mentioned: "But the work was completed, and at first the authorities told members of the Egyptian Jewish community that the news media could not attend the ceremony because they wanted to make the official announcement themselves. Then Dr. Hawass announced he was canceling that, too. "'I am trying to give the Israelis a message that they should make peace,' Dr. Hawass said."

So the New York Times allows Hawass to talk about how he loves the Jews and he even wants peace with Israel, he just wants them to be a bit more flexible. One would never guess, however, that when this article was being edited the Times should have been aware of other public statements Hawass has made. Indeed, MEMRI translated this in a dispatch that came out about the same time that the reporters were preparing the story. Here is what Hawass said on Egyptian television last year: Zahi Hawass: "For 18 centuries, [the Jews] were dispersed throughout the world. They went to America and took control of its economy. They have a plan. Although they are few in number, they control the entire world."

Notice that Hawass hates his cousins and that his hatred is based on his belief in the most basic antisemitic stereotypes for a 2000-year period, not since Israel was created in 1948.

And here we see how the Times hides the massive problem of antisemitism in the Arab world, the fact that the conflict cannot be resolved not because Israelis don't want to make peace but because many or most Arabs don't want any Israelis to exist. More likely than not, letting Hawass sound like a dove of peace rather than a raving Jew-hater is due to ignorance rather than intention. The result is the same.

This feeds into point three, which is equally incredible. Let's read the text: "When the subject of restoring the synagogue of Maimonides was first raised about two years ago, Egypt agreed to do the work, but asked that it not be made public. The project was announced a year later when the culture minister, Farouk Hosny, was hoping to become the next director general of Unesco, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. When his bid for the post failed, many doubted whether the project would be completed."

Are you a curious person? Perhaps you'd like to know why Hosny's bid failed. It is a matter of public record, covered in hundreds of articles. Even a glance at his biography in Wikipedia-but not the Times--includes the answer to that question. So let's see what the Times staff could have read if they had gone to Wikipedia: "During a May 2008 argument with a Muslim Brotherhood member of Parliament concerning cultural ties with Israel, Hosny provoked controversy by declaring, 'I'd burn Israeli books myself if I found any in libraries in Egypt."

"Prior to the book burning comment, the Anti-Defamation League noted that Hosny 'has a long record of stymieing cultural relations with Israel, promoting censorship in Egypt, and making harsh anti-Israel and anti-Jewish statements.' In 2001 interview, he called Israeli culture 'inhuman' and in a 1997 interview stated, 'The Israelis do not stop claiming that they built the [Egyptian] pyramids... This proves that Israel has no history or civilization....''

There was an international outcry at the former culture minister's expressions of antisemitism and attitudes-favoring book-burning-not entirely consistent of being the world's most important cultural official. Despite the fact that he was originally thought to be a shoe-in for the job, Hosny was defeated. The state-controlled Egyptian media then went on an antisemitic rampage, blaming the Jews for his defeat.

Might this have some relevance to the background of the synagogue restoration? The article mentioned that the project was announced during the time Hosny's candidacy was put forth but there is no hint as to the project being a transparent fig-leaf to make people forget about Hosny's own behavior. The project was completed but then downplayed and there was an attempt to act as if the synagogue had nothing to do with anything specifically Jewish.

Finally, there is a remarkable gap in covering internal Egyptian politics, which shows how dictatorships often get the benefit of the doubt in Times coverage. I want to quote this point fully so as to give you a sense of what's the issue here:
"Hala Mustafa, the editor of one of Egypt's premier political journals, Democracy, was formally censured last month for having met the Israeli ambassador in her office. It was first time the journalists' syndicate punished a member for defying a ban on normalization since the group was founded in 1941, according to the independent daily newspaper Al Masry Al Youm.

"Even some of her critics, who strongly disagree with Ms. Mustafa's politics, said they were surprised at the selective nature of the condemnation. Singling out Ms. Mustafa said as much about the way the state and state-aligned institutions apply laws and rules, critics said, as it did about widespread hostility to Israel.

"While Ms. Mustafa was punished, six top Egyptian scholars, including some from the nation's premier research center, the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, attended a conference with the Israeli ambassador. None of them were punished."
But again the reader is at a loss. Why was Mustafa singled out for special punishment? The answer is only hinted at by the name of her journal, Democracy. Mustafa is a liberal reformer and a democracy advocate and that is why she is being repressed. It is one more step in the campaign of Arab regimes against liberals and for maintaining a very tight control over their own societies. Without knowing this, the three paragraphs make no sense.

I am not focusing on an individual reporter here, especially because I don't know how his original piece was edited. But what is important is the product. In this one article, the Times deserves an "F" for journalistic competence and it has failed to inform readers of some of the most important aspects of the contemporary Middle East. In these respects, I cannot imagine a better example of what's wrong with media coverage of the region-and much more.

To quote George Orwell on a similar situation in 1945 (when the correspondent of a left-wing newspaper was criticized by readers for revealing how badly Soviet troops behaved toward civilians), once you accept the idea that the media should support "good causes" rather than just report accurately: "It is only a short step to arguing that the suppression and distortion of known facts is the highest duty of a journalist."

SOURCE (See the original for links)


Outdated union red tape strangles recovery

For nearly 80 years, contractors working on federally funded construction projects have been forced to pay their workers artificially inflated wages that rip off American taxpayers while lining the pockets of organized labor. The culprit is the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, which requires all workers on federal projects worth more than $2,000 to be paid the "prevailing wage," which typically means the local union wage.

Here's what happens. Unskilled construction workers possess one clear advantage over their skilled, unionized competitors: They're willing to work for less money. But Davis-Bacon destroys that advantage. After all, why would contractors working on a federal project hire any unskilled workers when the government forces them to pay all of their workers what amounts to a union wage? Contractors make the rational choice and get their money's worth by hiring skilled unionized labor even when the project calls for much less.

Davis-Bacon is a blatant piece of special-interest, pro-union legislation. It hasn't come cheap for taxpayers. According to research by Suffolk University economists, Davis-Bacon has raised the construction wages on federal projects 22 percent above the market rate. James Sherk of the Heritage Foundation finds that repealing Davis-Bacon would save taxpayers $11.4 billion in 2010 alone. Simply suspending Davis-Bacon would allow government contractors to hire 160,000 new workers at no additional cost, according to Mr. Sherk.

To make matters worse, the Davis-Bacon Act has explicitly racist origins. It was introduced in response to the presence of Southern black construction workers on a Long Island, N.Y.. veterans hospital project. This "cheap" and "bootleg" labor was denounced by Rep. Robert L. Bacon, New York Republican, who introduced the legislation. American Federation of Labor (AFL) president William Green eagerly testified in support of the law before the U.S. Senate, claiming that "colored labor is being brought in to demoralize wage rates."

In sum, we have a law that drives up the costs of federal projects, hurts unskilled workers, unfairly advantages organized labor and has explicitly racist roots. It's time for Davis-Bacon to go.




Israel: Netanyahu re-affirms “right to build” in Jerusalem: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asserted Israel’s ‘right to build’ in Jerusalem, following a row with the US over plans for new homes in the city. ‘Jerusalem is not a settlement, it’s our capital,’ he said in Washington. … In his speech to a convention of the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac), Mr Netanyahu said that ‘the Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago and the Jewish people are building it today.’ But he said construction ‘in no way precludes the possibility of a two-state solution.’”

UK: Three former ministers suspended amid new scandal: "Three former Cabinet ministers have been suspended from Britain’s ruling Labour Party over allegations that they tried to trade access to government officials for cash, as the country’s Parliament faces a new set of ethics scandals. Former defense secretary Geoff Hoon, former transport minister Stephen Byers, and ex-health secretary Patricia Hewitt have all been suspended from Britain’s Parliamentary Labour Party, the party said in a statement late Monday night, only hours after a documentary caught them apparently boasting of their influence to a fictional U.S. lobbying firm.”

ACORN to formally disband (and re-emerge under different names): "The liberal grass-roots group ACORN will formally disband on April 1 due to falling revenues, as its state chapters reorganize, the group said on Monday. Most of the 20 chapters of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which endorsed President Barack Obama during his 2008 campaign, have disbanded on their own and reorganized under new names, a source within the group said. Funding dried up after a widely disseminated YouTube video last September that showed ACORN workers giving advice on how to flout the law to two conservative activists who posed as a pimp and a prostitute. A separate embezzlement scandal also damaged the group’s credibility.”

Krugman’s Hoover history: "At his popular New York Times blog, Paul Krugman is at it again, offering a very misleading analysis of deficit spending. Without technically lying, Krugman perpetuates the myth that Herbert Hoover insisted on budget austerity in the midst of the Great Depression. Then Krugman interprets a chart with adjectives that show his eyes can only see what his Keynesian theory will allow.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


22 March, 2010

Is President Obama At War With America?

If a frontal assault on the foundational principals and values of American life can qualify as being “at war” - then yes, Barack Obama is in combat with our country. And while the belligerence of both his administration and his party’s congressional leadership have seemingly created a sense of alarm across the U.S., their apparent disregard for their own self-inflicted political damage is all the more staggering.

Taking aim at America’s foundations has impacted us both here at home, and abroad. European allies France and England have both made note of our President’s “short shrift” treatment over the past fourteen months, while earlier this month French President Nicolas Sarkozy chastised Obama for his protectionist, anti-free trade policies ( “this is not the right way to behave” Sarkozy told our President). And just last week Vice President Biden took U.S.-Israel relations to a new low point by criticizing the nation on their own soil.

But domestically, Obama’s greatest offense to American life is fundamentally economic in its nature. And at its root, his assault on our sensibilities is best described in terms that he himself has used to criticize others.

In a quickly produced campaign commercial back in the Fall of 2008, candidate Obama addressed the then- melting down American financial system, stating that “this crisis serves as a stark reminder of the failures of crony capitalism, and an economic philosophy that sees any regulation at all as unwise and unnecessary…” At that moment in time, long-standing American financial institutions were being crushed, mostly by their overexposure to sub-prime mortgages, while the stock market was tumbling precipitously.

Was “cronyism” in the financial system really our problem back then? Arguably it was one of many problems at that time, although Obama’s insinuation that our capitalistic free market economy is “un-regulated” was phony (completely un-regulated capitalism does not exist).

But today, cronyism is so flagrant and blatant at the highest ranks of our government, that the President and the congress have lost the confidence and the trust of both America’s cultural “right” and “left.” The stunning, “we’ll-stop-at-nothing” fight to take-over the healthcare industry and the medical profession has put Obama-styled cronyism on full display – and therein lies the greatest assault on America.

The cronyism, however, didn’t begin with the healthcare fight. After taking office, President Obama got to work right away buying-off people who would serve his interests, as he continued the destructive precedent established by George W. Bush and handed over billions of our tax dollars to Chrysler and General Motors. He then established his special “Automotive Task Force,” and appointed as the head of the task force Steve Rattner, a Wall Street investor with no experience in the car business but with lots of experience in raising campaign money for Obama and Democrats.

When GM and Chrysler ended-up in bankruptcy, President Obama insisted that everybody involved needed to “sacrifice,” yet the only people to experience a loss were the companies’ secured creditors. The Obama Administration used the full power of the White House to force the creditors to accept debt payment of thirty cents on the dollar, and then during the “re-structuring” of the companies managed to have chunks of each corporation “gifted” to the United Auto Workers Union (the UAW currently owns about 17% of GM, and slightly over 50% of Chrysler).

President Obama had a good reason to provide “gifts” to the UAW – labor union members frequently make great, loyal, campaign foot soldiers for Democrats. And for this reason it was no surprise when President Obama negotiated an exemption from the mandates of his nationalized healthcare plan for UAW members – they already receive healthcare benefits, and it made no sense to entangle into government healthcare a group of people who could be politically beneficial to Barack Obama.

Then there are the “gifts” to individual members of Congress. The “Louisiana purchase” with Senator Mary Landrieu and the “Cornhusker kickback” happened months ago. Yet all within the last week, we saw Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich go from a “no” to a “yes” vote on Obamacare after his wife was given a job working for Michelle Obama. And the Obama Administration used the power of the Department of the Interior to expand California’s water allocations, in exchange for the votes of on-the-fence Representatives Costa and Cardoza.

And why, exactly, does the Obamacare agenda require all Americans to buy health insurance? Using the force of government to create more “demand” for their product was a great way for President Obama to garner the political support of the insurance industry.

Yet at the epicenter of all of this – all the bribes, manipulations, and heavy-handed mandates – is the narrow, political self-interest of one man: Barack Obama. America’s cultural “right” decries the loss of freedom and the rise of abusive government, while the “left” decries a government that lines the pockets of for-profit corporations (companies that are presumed to be “greedy”), all for the benefit of one self-serving politician.

This is the assault on America’s foundational principals and values. It is the assault of governmental cronyism, on our basic understandings of what is right, and fair.



Keeping An Eye On The Domestic Threat

David Horowitz

One of the most frequent questions I am asked about my transit from the political left to the right some thirty years ago is why I did not stop somewhere along the way, and in particular somewhere “in the middle,” by which the questioner usually means on the Democratic Party side of the political divide. In fact, I remember very clearly why I did not. At the time of my transition, just before the 1984 re-election, Ronald Reagan and the Republicans were trying to hold the line against a Communist offensive in Central America, while Democratic senators – Tom Harkin, John Kerry and Christopher Dodd among them – were conducting their own private diplomacy in Central America to cut deals with the Communists while the Democratic House was seeking to cut funds for the anti-Communist forces on the ground. I had turned my back on the left because of the support it gave to the Communists in Indo-China, which had enabled the slaughter of two-and-a-half million peasants when Democrats cut-off funding to the anti-Communist forces.

I was reminded of these events by a report that appeared recently on the Newsweek website: “Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein and other prominent Senate Democrats have accused spies at the Homeland Security Department of basing official intelligence reports on dubious open-source material. Inquiries … indicate that at least some of the data that Feinstein and her colleagues deemed ‘questionable’ came from a website set up by outspoken conservative activist David Horowitz to catalogue negative information about the political left.”

This was a reference to DiscovertheNetworks.org, an encyclopedia of the left, which I launched in February 2005 and which has attracted over the last five years 22.4 million unique visitors, among them the producers of innumerable radio and TV talk shows. According to the Newsweek report, Senator Feinstein’s immediate concern was: “a profile of an unnamed but prominent American Islamic leader and was produced by Homeland Security’s intelligence office during the latter years of the Bush administration. The report was requested by the Department’s civil rights office, whose officials were preparing to meet with the Islamic leader. But instead of sending the civil rights office a quick bio of the individual in question, Homeland’s intelligence office issued a ‘finished’ intel report that was circulated to other intelligence agencies and, eventually, to Congressional oversight committees.”

In other words, Senator Feinstein and the Democrats were objecting to the scrutiny of a prominent Islamic leader scheduled to meet with the Bush Administration, even though leaders of prominent “mainstream” Islamic organizations such as CAIR have been convicted of terrorist activities, while others have been linked by the FBI to a formally organized network of the Muslim Brotherhood, the fountainhead of Islamic terrorism.

The letter from the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is the focus of the Newsweek article, complains that the Department of Homeland Security “used ‘certain questionable’ source material to glean ‘derogatory’ information about [a particular] Muslim leader, including information from an unidentified source ‘with obvious political motivation whose stated purpose is to “identif[y] the individuals and organizations that make up the left”.’ The senators added that the source also included information on “’numerous members of Congress and two former Presidents of the United States.’”

The source was censored from the Intelligence Committee letter, but Newsweek’s Mark Hosenball was able to identify it using a Google search as Discoverthenetworks.org: “The website is one of a number of anti-left and anti-Islamic websites operated by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Los Angeles-based assortment of conservative political organizations founded and headed by David Horowitz, a 1960s-vintage far-left organizer who migrated sharply to the political right.”

When Hosenball interviewed me, I told him that I had no knowledge of the Homeland Security incident but hoped that intelligence officials were consulting DiscovertheNetworks regularly – for the sake of the country. The political left, I told him, “including some members of Congress – [the one I named was Barbara Lee, head of the Black Caucus] has a long history of … actively working with and collaborating with America’s enemies.” I also assured him that the material on his DiscovertheNetworks.org is “factual,” and not written in an inflammatory manner, which could be easily checked.

Of all the projects of the David Horowitz Freedom Center over its 22-year history, its university campaigns, the scores of books its principals and contributors have authored, the hundreds of lectures they have given and the thousands of articles its websites have published, I regard the creation of DiscovertheNetworks as its single most significant achievement with the most far reaching long-term impact on the future of this country. This is not because it is a “catalogue [of] negative political information about the political left,” as Newsweek claimed. It is no such thing, but rather a map describing the origins, activities, agendas, funding and interlocking networks of a political movement whose collective goal is the destruction of American capitalism and pluralism, and the framework its Founders created more than 200 years ago.

Ever since making my political conversion I have been aware that the American public is dangerously naïve about the nature and purposes of the American left (although mercifully it is an innocence that is rapidly coming to an end). The extent of this innocence is reflected in an incident twenty years past when I gave a speech to the Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation in St. Louis. Cardinal Mindszenty was a hero of the anti-Communist cause, and the Mindszenty Foundation was as conservative an organization was likely to host me.

In my days as a radical I would have described myself as a “Marxist revolutionary,” but when it came to my introduction, my host presented me as “a former peace activist and civil rights worker.” How familiar is this? Sworn enemies of American capitalism and American democracy such as Angela Davis and Michael Moore are universally described by mainstream media as “liberals” even though they are Marxists. The campaign to prevent America from toppling Saddam Hussein was portrayed in the mainstream media as a “peace movement” even though its leaders were self-described supporters of Korean dictator Kim Jong-il and other Communists, and they did not organize a single “peace” demonstration in front of the Iraqi embassy to demand that Saddam Hussein cease his defiance of 17 UN arms control resolutions and allow inspectors the required access to his weapons sites.

DiscoverTheNetworks strips the veil from thousands of radical groups who fly under false flags and attempt to slip beneath the radar by referring to themselves as peace movements and civil liberties organizations and campaigns for “social justice.” For the first time the left’s history, and agendas and commitments are displayed for a public that has not made the study of the left a lifetime occupation. This is a service to the country and the cause of freedom. For that reason, the most alarming aspect of the Newsweek report is the fact that the Bush Homeland Security Department had to refer to our research to warn the White House of the dangers a prospective visitor might pose and did not have this information in its own files.



Proud to help -- and to fly our flag

The United States has brought millions of dollars and many tons of aid to Haiti, but one thing we brought is not welcome: the American flag. For awhile, it flew over the compound where the Joint Task Force Haiti was operating, but no more. Apparently, Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive thought it implied a U.S. occupation, and so, in a pitiful example of political correctness, it was lowered. This is even more ironic given that the French contingent proudly flies its flag and France held Haiti as a colony until a bloody revolution.

If the Haitian prime minister is unhappy with having the U.S. flag on his soil, we certainly can remove it. We can fold it nicely and place it in one of those giant containers full of food and medical supplies we brought, take one of the many pieces of construction equipment we brought, load it on one of the many planes and ships full of more of the same, and take them all back to the United States.

The prime minister should be so lucky as to have the United States occupy Haiti. Perhaps then his citizens could enjoy security and prosperity that he couldn't deliver even before the earthquake. Haiti consistently has been the worst place to live in the entire Western Hemisphere. But we are not there to occupy the country; we are simply doing what we always do. When the world dials 911, the phone is answered at the Pentagon. We may or may not be the world's policeman, but we certainly are its first responders.

Whenever a disaster occurs, man-made or natural, the U.S. military is the only force on Earth that can and does respond. No matter where, no matter who. When I served in Army Special Forces, we regularly came to help when tropical cyclones, typhoons and even the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines left people in need of humanitarian aid. We always showed the American flag, as it is a signal of security and safety in times of crisis. It also enabled those we helped to know who brought them relief. Surprisingly, instead of wondering whether we were there to occupy them, most people were smart enough to understand we were there to save their lives.

The idea that we have a reason to be ashamed or something to hide for doing this is disgraceful. It is one thing to be cognizant of the feelings of other countries. It is quite another to act as if the American flag is something other than a shining beacon of freedom and safety. Sadly, this is just another example of the current administration's feeling that America has more reasons to apologize than to be proud. The U.S. military does more humanitarian work around the world than anyone, and we should be flying our flag proudly over those operations.




ACORN sliding toward bankruptcy?: "The indelible images of ACORN workers helping a faux pimp and prostitute set up a tax shelter for a brothel certainly played into the advocacy group’s slide toward bankruptcy, though its problems began long before last year’s scandal. The New York Times is reporting that officials at the housing advocacy group will hold a teleconference this weekend to announce a bankruptcy filing. The group is reeling from a disbanding of at least 15 of its 30 state chapters in recent weeks, including the one in Maryland that served as the set for one of the most outrageous videos produced by conservative reporters James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, and led to government agencies like the Census Bureau severing ties to ACORN.”

Legislators rethink on teens & “sexting” : "In Iowa, Jorge Canal is on the sex offenders registry because, at 18, he was convicted of distributing obscene materials to a minor after he sent a picture of his penis by cellphone to a 14-year-old female friend who had requested it. In Florida, Phillip Alpert, then 18, was charged with distributing child pornography and put on the sex offenders registry because after a fight, he sent a photograph of his nude 16-year old girlfriend by e-mail to dozens of people, including her parents. In most states, teenagers who send or receive sexually explicit photographs by cellphone or computer — known as ’sexting’ — have risked felony child pornography charges and being listed on a sex offender registry for decades to come. But there is growing consensus among lawyers and legislators that the child pornography laws are too blunt an instrument to deal with an adolescent cyberculture in which all kinds of sexual pictures circulate on sites like MySpace and Facebook.”

On the unnecessary nature of much regulation: "I will admit that much of my personal opposition to the swamp of regulations in which we find ourselves is that I personally cannot stand being told what to do: I’ll find my own way to my grave thank you very much. This isn’t, I’ll also admit, all that strong an argument as a public or political policy against regulation. My personal wants or desires only become such when they are widely shared. However, there is a much stronger argument against said regulation: it doesn’t actually do what it sets out to do.”

Cash-strapped, state governments boosting traffic fee scams: "Shomari Jennings was willing to pay the $70 ticket he received for driving without a seatbelt, but not the slew of tacked-on fees and penalties that ballooned the cost more than tenfold. Every $10 of his base fine triggered a $26 ‘penalty assessment’ for courthouse construction, a DNA identification program, emergency medical services and other programs. Other fees ranged from $1 to $35. ‘It’s the new tax,’ Jennings, 30, complained while waiting in traffic court to contest a staggering bill compounded by a $500 fine for missing a court date. And motorists can only expect more of the same as cash-strapped cities and states consider measures ranging from expansion of red-light camera systems to charging drivers for cleanup after accidents.”

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


21 March, 2010

America, The Gulliver of Nations

Powerline posts a keen insight on how Great Britain's present, may become our future:
Once the federal government becomes so deeply involved in allocating health care, it will come to be a dominant focus of political discourse.

Over the years watching on C-Span the British Prime Minister's Question Time, I've observed that a large portion of this exercise is devoted to specific questions about the quality care provided by The National Health Service in members' districts. A question on the terrorists threats to the UK will invariably be followed by a passionate query from a Member asking the PM if he's aware of nurses being re-assigned at a hospital in Sheffield. The PM seems to spend as much time on parochial health care issues as on national security.

The politics of deciding who gets what in the way of medical treatment doubtlessly will push aside traditional affairs of state. Every member of Congress will need to hire several staff members just to manage constituents' complaints about their care. Elections will be won and lost on the basis of who can get the most in the way of health care for their districts.

We will become the Gulliver of nations, a great power whose leaders are tied up in strings as they spend much of their time addressing the medical complaints, valid and imagined, of their electorate.
We *will* become the Gulliver of nations. And it will not just be due to healthcare. The more our Federal government becomes so deeply involved in the regulation of anything and everything (education, the environment, banking, retirement, fishing, car manufacturing....etc), the more we tie ourselves down. The more the Liliputians UN bureaucrats will take advantage of us. The more we will make ourselves irrelevant.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


Stimulus or Sedative?

By Thomas Sowell

Abraham Lincoln once asked an audience how many legs a dog has, if you called the tail a leg? When the audience said "five," Lincoln corrected them, saying that the answer was four. "The fact that you call a tail a leg does not make it a leg."

That same principle applies today. The fact that politicians call something a "stimulus" does not make it a stimulus. The fact that they call something a "jobs bill" does not mean there will be more jobs. What have been the actual consequences of all the hundreds of billions of dollars that the government has spent? The idea behind the spending is that it will cause investors to invest, lenders to lend and employers to employ.

That was called "pump priming." To get a pump going, people put a little water into it, so that the pump will start pumping out a lot of water. In other words, government money alone was never supposed to restore the economy by itself. It was supposed to get the private sector spending, lending, investing and employing. The question is: Is that what has actually happened?

The stimulus spending started back in 2008, during the Bush administration, and has continued under the Obama administration, so it has had plenty of time to show what it can do. After the Bush administration's stimulus spending in 2008, business spending on equipment and software fell — not rose — by 28 percent. Spending on durable goods fell 22 percent.

What about the banks? Four months after the Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP) poured billions of dollars into the banks, the biggest recipients of that money made 23 percent fewer loans than before. A year later, the credit extended by American banks as a whole was down — not up — by more than $20 billion. Spending in general was down. The velocity of circulation of money fell faster than it had in half a century.

Just two weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal reported, "U.S. banks posted last year their sharpest decline in lending since 1942." You can call it a stimulus, if you want to, just as you can call a tail a leg. But the actual effect of what is called a "stimulus" has been more like that of a sedative.

Why aren't the banks lending, with all that money sitting there gathering dust? You don't lend when politicians are making it more doubtful whether you are going to get your money back — either on time or at all. From the White House to Capitol Hill, politicians are coming up with all sorts of bright ideas for borrowers not to have to pay back what they borrowed and for lenders not to be able to foreclose on people who are months behind on their mortgage payments.

President Obama keeps telling us that he is "creating jobs." But more and more Americans have no jobs. The unemployment rate has declined slightly, but only because many people have stopped looking for jobs. You are only counted as unemployed if you are still looking for a job. If all the unemployed people were to decide that it is hopeless and stop looking for work, the unemployment statistics would drop like a rock. But that would hardly be a solution.

What is going on, that nothing seems to work? None of this is new. What is going on is what went on during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Money circulated more slowly during the 1930s than during the 1920s. Banks lent out a smaller proportion of the money they had on hand during the 1930s than they did in the 1920s. Anti-business rhetoric and anti-business policies did not create business confidence then, any more than it does now. Economists have estimated that the New Deal prolonged the depression by several years.

This is not another Great Depression, at least not yet, and the economy may recover on its own, if the government will let it. But Obama today, like FDR in the 1930s, cannot leave the economy alone. Both have felt a need to come up with one bright idea after another, to "do something." The theory is that, if one thing doesn't work, it is just a matter of trying another. But, in an atmosphere where nobody knows what the federal government is going to come up with next, people tend to hang on to their money until they have some idea of what the rules of the game are going to be.



Obama's foreign policy impotence

Wen Jiabo, the Chinese prime minister, insists that his nation’s currency, which is called (tragically for television anchors) the renminbi, is not undervalued. The United States says it is too undervalued, arrantly manipulated by China in fact, and that’s why all that stuff you find at Wal-Mart has such a wonderfully low price tag.

Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, huffs and puffs, having found—as he declared this week— “the Chinese don’t believe in free trade. I believe they’re mercantilist, that they simply want to increase their economic power and will do whatever it takes to do that.”

Mercantalist! How loathsome. Anxious to increase economic power! How could they? And Schumer isn’t alone in his outrage at discovering that capitalism has unaccountably vaulted over the Great Wall. He’s joined by, among others, Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, both of whom want the U.S. Treasury to get into the act. Yes, the Republicans and Democrats have finally found something they can agree on. China is far too capitalist for our own good.

And not only that. Despite years of U.S. propaganda suggesting that all what we um….mercantilists…honestly wanted was for the Commies to convert to capitalism, 130 House members are now begging the Commerce Department to impose duties on Chinese exports. So that some laid-off Michigan factory worker will henceforth be forced to pay premium prices, and China can charge—with perfect accuracy—that the U.S. just launched the first volley in a trade war.

But I tend to look at things in a weird way. Like imagining, say: What if I were Chinese? Or Iranian? Or, for that matter, Israeli?

What if I were Chinese, citizen of a nation with $2.4 trillion in reserves? How much should I tremble before the prospect of American wrath? What if a large chunk of those $2.4 trillion were dumped on the market? Who would be most upset by the resulting devaluation and possibilities of inflation?

What if I were Iranian—even an Iranian unfriendly to Ahmadinejad? My country’s nuclear program was launched in the 1950s with the aid of the United States, thank you very much. Iran currently has several nuclear sites: A uranium enrichment facility in Natanz partly located underground, a uranium conversion facility at Isfahan, and a heavy water facility under construction in Arak. Who the hell is the U.S., a power that dropped its bombs on Japanese civilians, to tell Iran it doesn’t have the requisite sense of responsibility to go nuclear?

What if I were Israeli? I may be livid with Prime Minister Netanyahu for screwing up the visit of Joe Biden and humiliating an ally—all in one little day. I may legitimately call into question Bibi’s fitness to lead, as a Ha’aretz columnist just did. But those 1600 new homes, built in an ultra-Orthodox enclave of Arab East Jerusalem? The ones that Hillary found “insulting.” Israel never suggested she’d back down on building those. That was wishful thinking on Obama’s part.

Moreover, which do you think Netanyahu worries about more: Hillary’s hurt feelings, or his own standing in the polls? My guess: Those new homes will be as stoutly built as a uranium enrichment plant, as strong as the renminbi. And let’s face it: We just don’t have the clout any more to do much about any of it.



Obama's pointless fight with Israel

LAST NOVEMBER the government of Israel agreed to a 10-month moratorium on new Jewish housing in the West Bank. The moratorium did not apply to schools, synagogues, and residential units already in the pipeline; nor did it apply to eastern Jerusalem, which is home to around 180,000 Israelis -- more than a third of Jerusalem's Jewish population. Yet even with those caveats it was an unprecedented concession, intended, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, to "encourage resumption of peace talks with our Palestinian neighbors."

At the time, the Obama administration applauded Israel's announcement. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed it as a "move forward." George Mitchell, the president's special envoy to the Middle East, praised it as "a positive development" that "could have substantial impact on the ground" and acknowledged that "it is more than any Israeli government has done before."

So when Israel's Interior Ministry recently announced its interim approval for the construction of 1,600 new apartments in Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, it was not reneging on any commitment. If anyone was guilty of bad faith in the diplomatic crisis that ensued, it was the Obama administration, which had explicitly accepted the terms of Netanyahu's building freeze in November, yet was now going back on its word.

The Israeli government was guilty at most of poor timing, since the announcement came as Vice President Joe Biden was in the country and indirect talks with the Palestinians -- who have refused for more than a year to meet face to face with the Israelis -- were scheduled to begin. The gaffe should have been waved aside as soon as Netanyahu apologized for his government's awkward announcement, which he had not known about in advance. Instead the Obama administration went nuclear. Clinton publicly blasted Israel for what she called "an insult to the United States," and upbraided Netanyahu in a blistering 45-minute phone call, with talking points scripted by the president himself.

For good measure, the State Department spokesman then demanded that Israel demonstrate "through specific actions" its commitment to peace. Forgotten, apparently, was Netanyahu's unprecedented moratorium of last November, to say nothing of the innumerable Israeli goodwill gestures, concessions, prisoner releases, and peace offers to the Palestinians that preceded it -- all of them unrequited.

When President Obama was asked Wednesday evening whether US-Israeli relations are now in a crisis, he flatly answered: "No." But an atmosphere of harsh antagonism seems to be exactly what the administration's tantrum was meant to engender.

If the president's goal was to bring Israel and the Palestinians to the negotiating table and thereby revive the so-called "peace process," he couldn't have chosen a more counterproductive tactic. The Palestinian Authority promptly seized the opportunity to back out of the indirect talks it had agreed to -- why negotiate for Israeli concessions if Washington can force Israel to deliver them on a silver platter? "We want to hear from Mitchell," said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, "that Israel has cancelled the decision to build housing units before we start the negotiations."

This has been the Palestinian Authority's strategy ever since Obama took office tilting against Israel. Last spring, the PA's Mahmoud Abbas told Jackson Diehl of The Washington Post that he had no intention of negotiating with Israel -- he was content to sit back and let Washington twist Netanyahu's arms. "The Americans are the leaders of the world," Abbas told Diehl. "They can use their weight with anyone around the world. . . . I will wait."

Candidate Barack Obama, addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 2008, pledged 'unwavering friendship with Israel.' Skeptics had their doubts.

Israel generally bends over backward to accommodate Washington, but there are some things no Israeli government can relinquish. One of them is the right of Jews to live in Jerusalem -- in all of Jerusalem, including the parts of the city conquered by Jordan in 1948 and kept judenrein until 1967. Israelis quarrel over many things, but the vast majority of them agree that Jerusalem must never again be divided. Americans agree as well. Indeed, as a matter of federal law -- the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 -- it is US policy that "Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected."

As a candidate for president in 2008, Barack Obama said that was his position too. Millions of pro-Israel American voters believed him, just as they believed his pledge of "unwavering friendship with Israel." The recent unpleasantness suggests it may be time for second thoughts.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


20 March, 2010

America's lawbreaking Congress

By Robert F. Turner (Robert F. Turner served as acting assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs in the Reagan administration and is a professor at the University of Virginia)

As a scholar who has studied and revered the Constitution for more than four decades, watching the be -havior of our Congress in recent years has been all too often a depressing experience. One wonders whether some legislators have even bothered to read the Constitution, or if the problem is they simply don't care about the oath they took to support it.

While doing research for my doctoral dissertation many years ago, I had the pleasure of reading extensively from the Annals of Congress, notes from Cabinet meetings of early presidents, and a great deal of other historical material while seeking to understand portions of our Constitution. In the process, I found myself marveling both at how remarkably well-read the Framers were - encountering frequent references to the writings of Locke, Montesquieu, Blackstone, Vattel, and other prominent 17th- and 18th-century thinkers - and also at the high principles repeatedly expressed by members of both political branches of our government when novel issues surfaced.

Whether in the executive or legislative branch, our Founding Fathers were anxious to reach conclusions that were consistent with the meaning of the new Constitution and respected the powers of the other branches and the people. George Washington would suggest that an issue be put off for several days to permit Cabinet members to ponder decisions that might affect future interpretations of the Constitution, and James Madison raised similar cautions in Congress.

Sadly, the latest parliamentary shenanigans in the House, to pretend that the Senate health care bill has already been signed into law so that the (non)law can be "amended" immediately to secure enough House votes for passage, is but par for the course. It is no better than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's attempt to use Congress' rule-making power to deny future Congresses their constitutional right to repeal or amend a previous law by majority vote. Section 3403 of the bill passed by the Senate provides: "It shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection." The Constitution can't be changed by statute, and it certainly can't be changed by amending House or Senate rules.

Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution sets forth detailed requirements for the making or amending of a law specifying that "Every order, resolution, or vote to which the concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary" shall be presented to and approved by the president (or enacted over his veto) - so as to prevent unprincipled legislators from bypassing the procedural necessities by the kind of semantical chicanery currently being contemplated by House leaders.

In the Congressional Record dated June 11, 1976, there are lengthy remarks by my former employer, Sen. Robert P. Griffin, explaining why "legislative vetoes" - statutory provisions that also violate Article I, Section 7 by giving legal effect to acts of one or both legislative chambers without ever being submitted to the president - are unconstitutional. During that debate, Mr. Griffin asked me to briefly explain the constitutional issue to one of his Senate colleagues who had not yet voted. After politely listening to me for a few minutes, he cut me off and explained: "Well, you may well be right. But it is the job of the Supreme Court to decide whether a statute is unconstitutional. My job is to vote for bills I think are in the best interest of my constituents." I was briefly tempted to remind him that he had sworn a solemn oath to support the Constitution and that the court was there as a safety valve to make certain legislators did not err in their constitutional interpretations, but from his expression it seemed clear thatwould have served no purpose but to annoy him.

Seven years later, by a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court in the landmark case of INS v. Chadhaechoed Mr. Griffin's analysis and struck down legislative vetoes as unconstitutional. But Congress didn't seem to care. Although Justice Byron White began his Chadha dissent by noting that the court had "sound[ed] the death knell for nearly 200 other statutory provisions ... operating on such varied matters as war powers," Congress wasn't listening.

Less than two years ago, the bipartisan and blue-ribbon National War Powers Commission - including among its distinguished members such stalwarts of legislative power as Lee Hamilton, Abner Mikva and Slade Gorton - made specific reference to the legislative veto in Section 5(c) of the 1973 War Powers Resolution in unanimously concluding both that the statute was unconstitutional and that it should be repealed.

But on March 4 of this year, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and 16 of his colleagues introduced a legislative veto expressly pursuant to Section 5(c) pretending to direct the president to withdraw all U.S. armed forces from Afghanistan. (One wonders if any of them were aware that on Aug. 17, 1787, the Constitutional Convention rejected a proposal that Congress be given the power to end war because it had the power to commence it. After a brief debate, the idea was defeated by a vote of 0-10.)

Sadly, such flagrantly unconstitutional legislative vetoes have been more the rule than the exception since the Supreme Court in 1983 held them to be unconstitutional. Indeed, since that decision was handed down, Congress has enacted far more than 500 new legislative vetoes, each time thumbing its nose at the Constitution and the Supreme Court. Legislative vetoes are by far the most common reason for presidential "signing statements" refusing to execute flagrantly unconstitutional legislative acts.

At some point, if we are to have any chance of preserving our magnificent Constitution, the American people are going to have to start saying "no" and holding legislators accountable at the polls for violating their oaths of office. The senators and representatives we elect were intended to be servants of the people, not a special class of aristocrats empowered to rule our lives while remaining aloof from the very laws they enact. Writing in Federalist No. 57, James Madison assured the American people that one of the checks against legislative abuse of power was that Congress could "make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society." One can only wonder what the Obamacare vote would be if it applied to members of Congress and their staffs.

After nearly four decades of watching our elected representatives flaunt their solemn duty and evade the burdens they impose upon the rest of us, I have finally concluded that the time has come to start voting against incumbents who behave as if they are the rulers rather than the servants of the American people.



We've Landed in Alice's Wonderland

"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."

(Alice's Adventures in Wonderland)

It appears America has become that mad land Alice stumbled upon down the rabbit hole. There is so much about American society that no longer makes any sense. Up is down, black is white and right is wrong. We've witnessed the implementation of programs, policies and court opinions over the last several decades that defy commonsense and logic. And there appears to be no end in sight to the madness.

Consider that FDR's New Deal created a government with an insatiable appetite for more money, more federal workers and more bureaucracy which are expended in the most wasteful manner. Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs incentivized unemployment and created generational dependence on government handouts. Jurists became activists by ignoring the Constitution and legislating from the bench.

There exists in Washington, D.C., today, a political climate that considers business evil, hard work to be without virtue, and individual liberty and freedom a plague that must be eliminated. Time after time, government bureaucrats, politicians, academia, major news organizations and the cultural elite demonstrate themselves to be out of step and out of touch with the American people and their values. Consider the following juxtapositions.

A country whose national character is typified by the great melting pot is continually being redefined by individuals who promote racial, ethnic, religious, and gender division.

Elected officials who literally swear an oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution casually break that very same oath.

Servicemen and women who are fighting a determined foe in Iraq and Afghanistan are undermined by service chiefs who announce the military's number one strategic priority is not winning these wars but instead to achieve diversity in the ranks.

The Internal Revenue Service -- placed in the hands of a Treasury Secretary who is a bona fide tax cheat -- implements tax policy written by a House Ways and Means Chairman who is also a tax cheat.

American businesses have shed millions of jobs due to inane economic policies while billions of taxpayer dollars are spent to subsidize "green jobs" that lead to nothing other than bloated government bureaucracy.

Washington, D.C. power brokers treat the AIG bailout as a national security matter by covering up details at the same time that the CIA's counter-terrorism policies are widely publicized as if they were part of a national advertising campaign.

Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent purchasing foreign oil while domestic oil fields lie fallow.

In Congress, the term "cut" is not a decrease in spending but is instead only a slight reduction in an expected spending increase that is well-beyond the inflation rate.

Government employees are among the most handsomely compensated in America even though the public sector is the most dysfunctional and inefficient component of our economy.

More HERE (See the original for links)


Obama Turns Over America's Oil to Russia

The Obama administration is poised to ban offshore oil drilling on the outer continental shelf until 2012 or beyond. Meanwhile, Russia is making a bold strategic leap to begin drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. While the United States attempts to shift gears to alternative fuels to battle the purported evils of carbon emissions, Russia will erect oil derricks off the Cuban coast.

Offshore oil production makes economic sense. It creates jobs and helps fulfill America's vast energy needs. It contributes to the gross domestic product and does not increase the trade deficit. Higher oil supply helps keep a lid on rising prices, and greater American production gives the United States more influence over the global market.

Drilling is also wildly popular with the public. A Pew Research Center poll from February showed 63 percent support for offshore drilling for oil and natural gas. Americans understand the fundamental points: The oil is there, and we need it. If we don't drill it out, we have to buy it from other countries. Last year, the U.S. government even helped Brazil underwrite offshore drilling in the Tupi oil field near Rio de Janeiro. The current price of oil makes drilling economically feasible, so why not let the private sector go ahead and get our oil?

The Obama administration, however, views energy policy through green eyeshades. Every aspect of its approach to energy is subordinated to radical environmental concerns. This unprecedented lack of balance is placing offshore oil resources off-limits. The O Force would prefer the country shift its energy production to alternative sources, such as nuclear, solar and wind power. In theory, there's nothing wrong with that, in the long run, assuming technology can catch up to demand. But we have not yet reached the green utopia, we won't get there anytime soon, and America needs more oil now.

Russia more sensibly views energy primarily as a strategic resource. Energy is critical to Russia's economy, as fuel and as a source of profit through export. Russia also has used energy as a coercive diplomatic tool, shutting off natural gas piped to Eastern Europe in the middle of winter to make a point about how dependent the countries are that do business with the Russians.

Now Russia is using oil exploration to establish a new presence in the Western Hemisphere. It recently concluded four contracts securing oil-exploration rights in Cuba's economic zone in the Gulf of Mexico. A Russian-Cuban joint partnership will exploit oil found in the deep waters of the Gulf.

Cuba has rights to the area in which drilling will be conducted under an agreement the Carter administration recognized. From Russia's perspective, this is another way to gain leverage inside what traditionally has been America's sphere of influence. It may not be as dramatic as the Soviet Union attempting to use Cuba as a missile platform, but in the energy wars, the message is the same. Russia is projecting power into the Western Hemisphere while the United States retreats. The world will not tolerate a superpower that acts like a sidekick much longer.



The Heat is On: Congressman’s Office Says Constituent Calls Are ‘Harassment’

Yesterday, I decided to call Rep. John Garamendi’s (CA-10) office in Washington, D.C. He’s my representative and I wanted to voice my opposition to the Senate Health Care Bill. I spoke with a female staffer and politely told her that, while I support health care reform, I oppose the Senate Bill because it wasn’t true “reform.” She said the Congressman thinks it’s a good bill and that he campaigned on health care reform. I told her I knew that. I also mentioned that I voted for him. When I tried to give her specific reasons why the Senate Bill would harm our system rather than reform it, she refused to listen. She said she was very busy and hung up on me. Being the persistent person that I am, I kept calling back. Each time I tried to finish my point, she hung up.

I called one more time. This time she said, “If you call one more time, we will notify Capital Police.” I asked why my conduct warranted involving federal law enforcement agents. She said I was “harassing” her. I tried to explain that trying to convince a representative to change his or her vote didn’t constitute “harassment.” Before I could fully explain, she hung up again.

I called back. This time, I asked to speak to her supervisor in order to report her repeated hanging up as well as the threat she made. I was placed on hold. Thinking I was holding for her supervisor, I was shocked when a Federal Agent with the Capital Police picked-up the telephone. At first, the Agent was curt with me. He claimed I was harassing Mr. Garamendi’s staff by continually calling after being told to stop calling. I asked him when it became a federal crime to lobby a congressman. He said that it wasn’t but it was a crime to “harass” congressional members and staff pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 223. I told him I was an attorney (which I am) and that I would research the statute he had cited.

After researching 47 U.S.C. 223, I called Mr. Garamendi’s office again and asked to be transferred back to the Capital Police Agent. The Agent picked up the phone and I explained to him that the statute he cited was not controlling since it only prohibits people from calling with the specific intent to harass. I further explained that I was simply trying to voice my concerns with the intent of getting Mr. Garamendi to change his mind, not to harass his staff. The Agent eventually agreed with my position and said he would call Mr. Garamendi’s office and instruct his staff that I was within my rights to call my congressman and voice my concerns.

After I hung up, I realized that this story should be told. Besides being an attorney, I’ve also had the privilege of serving this great country in the United States Marine Corps. Having seen the ugly legislative process the Senate Bill had been through, I saw this as not just another tactic to pass the Senate Bill at all costs, but also as an affront to our liberties.

While I’m fortunate enough to be able to legally challenge what happened today, others aren’t. The sad part is the democrats know this. They know that Americans unfamiliar with federal jurisprudence can easily be silenced when threats to involve federal agents are made. They know that most Americans don’t want trouble and they’ll go away rather than face the possibility of having to explain themselves to federal agents. That’s why I found this tactic appalling, as a Marine, as an attorney and as a proud American.

During my final contact with Mr. Garamendi’s staff, it was confirmed to me that he would vote for the Senate Bill no matter what. I was told that I was wasting my time by calling. Mr. Garamendi is a junior member of the House of Representatives. He was just elected via a special election last November. He has made it clear that he is willing to forsake his constituents in order to please the Speaker of the House.

Speaker Pelosi has said that she will stop at nothing to get the Senate Bill passed. She publicly stated that she would “pole vault over a wall” if barriers stood in her way. While that may be an amusing spectacle, it is indicative of what happened to me today. Apparently, threatening Americans with federal crimes to silence them is the latest tool in Speaker Pelosi’s dirty bag of tricks.

In the coming days, I’m sure more stories will develop illustrating the “win at all costs” tactics being employed by democrats. It’s these tactics that have appalled a majority of Americans to the point that the Senate Bill has overwhelmingly been rejected by the American people. When we try to explain that to Speaker Pelosi’s Caucus, we are threatened with criminal sanctions. We are told to shut up or face federal agents. Such treatment may be acceptable in the former Soviet Union, but it’s repulsive in the country I love and served. Is this hope and change?


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


19 March, 2010

Moody's Warns U.S. Sinking into Financial Abyss

“A national debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing.” —Alexander Hamilton.

Not even Alexander Hamilton would support today’s national debt. When the nation’s system of perpetual, permanent debt was enacted, it provided, according to American Public University’s History Central, “that the debt be funded by reissuing bonds to be paid back in full after 15 or 20 years. Thus, rather than eliminating the debt, Hamilton's plan created a large, permanent public debt, issuing new bonds as old ones were paid off. Congress approved this proposal.”

More or less, that’s the system that still exists today. Paying off the principal on the national debt is done almost entirely by the issuance of new Treasury bonds. And, per Hamilton, “if it is not excessive,” can be indispensable — in times of war, for example.

For now, the nation is able to sell new bonds to pay off the old. Since the national debt has grown every single year since 1958, however, that means annually, for more than 50 years, more bonds have been sold than have been paid back. This has thus resulted in a net increase of the debt every year, even when Congress supposedly “balanced” the budgets in 1969 in and in 1998.

Interest servicing the debt, on the other hand, comes out of revenue. This is where it gets interesting — and downright scary. The U.S. is about to max out its credit card while barely keeping up with its minimum payments servicing the nation’s gargantuan $12.4 trillion mountain of debt. Yesterday, Moody’s Investors Service again warned the U.S. that it is “substantially” closer to having its credit downgraded.

As reported by Fortune’s Chris Barr, “interest payments on general government debt -- combining the federal government with the states -- could rise above 10% of revenue by 2013... That's the level at which the rating agency typically considers a downgrade. Moody's said debt affordability is the key factor to consider in ratings decisions, because debt costs are apt to constrain policymakers…”

This is a critical point. Why? As reported by Bloomberg’s Matthew Brown, “Financing costs above 10 percent put countries outside of the AAA category into a so-called debt reversibility band, the size of which depends on the ability and willingness of nations to reduce their debt burden by raising taxes or reducing spending. The U.S. has a 4 percentage-point band…”

That does not leave that much wiggle room — at all. Barack Obama and Congress are pushing the maximum limits of the full faith and credit of the nation, violating Hamilton’s admonition of an excessive national debt burden. By 2013, according to the White House, the debt will top 100 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.

Just how bad is this scenario? Per Brown, just 0.5 percent less economic growth, higher-than-expected interest rates, and “less fiscal adjustment” each year below Moody’s projected baseline assumptions would result in the U.S. “paying about 15 percent of revenue in interest payments, more than the 14 percent limit that would lead to a downgrade to AA, Moody’s said.”

Making matters even worse, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that interest as a percent of revenue will top 14.8 percent as soon as 2015. That year, $520 billion interest will be owed with a projected $3.504 trillion in revenue, according to the CBO. By 2020, that number rises to 20.7 percent: $916 billion owed with projected revenue equally $4.417.

For our uninitiated readers, that’s bad. Really, really bad. Within five short years, the nation will rocket past the 14 percent interest-owed-to-revenue credit limit imposed by Moody’s. And that’s assuming that U.S. treasuries sell splendidly. That there is no run on the dollar.

But, by the government’s own data and Moody’s stated warning, a debt downgrade now appears all but certain. This is an emergency, but it is not being treated as such. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner promised to the American people that this would not happen. He said a debt downgrade “will never happen to this country.” Really? Was that an accurate assessment of the increasing risk of sovereign debt default in the U.S.? Surely he must have known what the criteria for keeping the nation’s Triple-A credit rating was. If he didn’t, he should be fired. If he did know, he lied, and should be subpoenaed. And fired.

All this time, the nation has been sold a bill of goods that deficit-spending and monetary easing were absolutely necessary to “save” the economy. But now that Congress, the Treasury, and the Federal Reserve have done so, the risk of sovereign default looms ever-closer. What has been gained exactly?

A debt downgrade would almost certainly mean higher interest rates, higher tax rates, and an overall weaker economy. In turn, there would be less jobs and, since the nation depends on both individual and corporate income taxes, that will mean less revenue. All of which will further deteriorate the American people’s ability to keep up with servicing the debt.

In other words, the slightest economic hiccup — in commercial real estate, basic housing, education, energy, or elsewhere — could result in the nation’s finances being devastated almost immediately. Even worse, if the Obama budgets are enacted as proposed, within five years, the nation’s finances will be devastated, per the CBO’s data and Moody's warning.

Think the CBO is exaggerating? By the White House’s own projections, the percentage of interest-owed-to-debt will top 14.7 percent, not in 2015, as the CBO projects. But in 2014, a full year sooner. That year, according to the Office of Management and Budget, interest owed will total $510 billion versus $3.455 trillion.

Juxtapose Moody’s warning yesterday with reports that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has now begun cashing in its $2.5 trillion in treasuries. As reported by the AP’s Stephen Ohlemacher, “For more than two decades, Social Security collected more money in payroll taxes than it paid out in benefits — billions more each year. Not anymore. This year, for the first time since the 1980s, when Congress last overhauled Social Security, the retirement program is projected to pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes — nearly $29 billion more.” Making matters worse, as Social Security cashes in its treasuries, the only way for the government to pay for them will be to… issue more treasuries! That would mean that another $2.5 trillion would be piled atop the national debt.

These IOU’s have been piling up for years, and now that the Social Security is finally in the red, the SSA is cashing them in to keep the payments moving. However, by 2037, if not sooner, it is projected that the Social Security will run out of those IOU’s. It will be completely bankrupt.

For now, the nation is able to pay off the principal owed on the debt through the sale of more treasuries. But because that debt is now so excessive, government entitlement programs are now in the red, and credit rating agencies are already firing warning shots across the nation’s bow, it is now much riskier. Markets will now begin demanding higher yields on that debt.

Hamilton may have supported the creation of a perpetual debt, but nowhere did he ever propose, as a matter of policy, that the nation contract debt far beyond the nation’s ability to pay for it. This is beyond excessive. This is suicidal. That sinking sound you hear is the Ship of State being fully plunged into the bottomless Abyss.



The Human Costs of Big Government

President Obama recently informed a crowd of young people — to thunderous applause — that under his health care plan, they could stay on their parents’ coverage till age 26. Voters 18-21, of course, went for Obama by a 2-1 margin, but given that he is a ‘post-partisan’ president, we can’t chalk that up to politics, now can we?

Obama-care proponents contend that his proposal is only an option and not a mandate (though a handful of states have enacted mandates). But then so are junk food and cigarettes, and no one hesitates to address their dangers. Under our Constitution, whether or not parents choose to provide coverage for their grown children is not the concern of President Obama. As columnist Mark Steyn has noted, however, the details of Obama-care pale in importance next to the overall concept of nationalizing yet more of our private lives. Forget the minutiae for a moment and consider our culture.

Public debate almost always concerns the practicalities and economics of Nanny-state activism. Seldom considered is that the human toll of engendering dependency can be measured in fatherless households, lack of initiative and prolonged adolescence.

Numerous sociological factors can probably explain why fifty years ago a 26 year-old was an adult, long independent, with a stable job and an intact family, whereas today, 26 is practically late childhood. Still, policies that keep young people dependent on their parents (via the government) do not instill self-discipline or allow the confidence and self-satisfaction derived from taking care of yourself for the first time. The Great Society and the welfare-state must bear some of the blame. Diana West, in The Death of the Grown-up (2007) details how Italy’s highest court ordered the estranged father of a thirty year-old to pay his son roughly $1000 a month until he found a job that “fit his aspirations.” The son had a law degree, but the court ruled that a parent’s duty of maintenance did not end with adulthood. According to West, to no great surprise, more than a third of Italians over thirty still live at home with their parents. Still, such an outrage could never happen here.

Or could it? The drip-drip accumulation of big-government policies nullifies our better natures. And political correctness and radical feminism have wussified many American males. Teenage girls in Seattle recently beat one of their own senseless while a group of security guards watched. Where was law enforcement, everyone asked, when the pertinent question was where were the MEN? Iowa, responding to public outrage, recently passed legislation to keep underage girls from performing in strip clubs, reversing a controversial court decision (which deemed stripping an ‘art’). Why, in 2010, was this even an issue? Men used to protect the safety and chastity not only of their own daughters but of all girls. Today, young women depend on the fickle nature of court rulings, not as a last line line of defense, but often as their only option.

Each tier of Nanny-state activism is easier to write off than the one before it. Patriots tend to save their big guns (figuratively speaking, of course) for the most outrageous abuses of federal encroachment. By then, we have accepted most of their premises and are just arguing the practicalities. In public debate, compassion and emotion tend to trump reason and tough love, but if the left wants to advance their agenda on grounds of compassion, perhaps they can show us their humanitarian reasons for Euro-fying American and denying citizens their sense of freedom and self-sufficiency. The hard facts of Obama-care are public record, but only by speaking to the unlimited potentials of our citizens will they really grasp what is on the line.




Will the jobs bill create any jobs?: "On Wednesday, the Senate passed a $17.6 billion spending bill. It needs only President Obama’s signature to become law. The hope is that the new spending will create jobs. But hope is not the same as reality. Remember: anything that Washington giveth, it must first taketh away from somewhere else. This jobs bill is a zero-sum game. All those new jobs that politicians will be showing off for the cameras will have come at the expense of other jobs elsewhere. On net, they’re not creating a thing.”

Get ready for increased taxes: "I’ve noted any number of times that government taxes comprise 14% of the national income and government spending is at 25% of the national income. That’s as high as its been since WWII I believe. The point, of course is there are three obvious choices here — cut spending to the income level (and beyond, really, if you plan on paying off debt) or increase taxes to the spending level (and beyond, again, if you plan on paying off the debt) or a combination of both. Watching this current administration, it appears option two is in the works. Lots of lip service about ‘unsustainable’ spending, etc., but the only movement I’ve seen is legislation that increases that. And, also, plans to increase taxes.”

WA: Walgreens says no more new Medicaid patients: "Effective April 16, Walgreens drugstores across the state won’t take any new Medicaid patients, saying that filling their prescriptions is a money-losing proposition — the latest development in an ongoing dispute over Medicaid reimbursement. The company, which operates 121 stores in the state, will continue filling Medicaid prescriptions for current patients. In a news release, Walgreens said its decision to not take new Medicaid patients stemmed from a ‘continued reduction in reimbursement’ under the state’s Medicaid program, which reimburses it at less than the break-even point for 95 percent of brand-name medications dispensed to Medicaid patents.”

Israeli aircraft strike Gaza: "Israeli aircraft attacked at least six targets in the Gaza Strip early today, the day after a rocket fired from the Palestinian enclave killed a Thai worker in Israel as Baroness Ashton of Upholland, the EU’s deputy foreign policy chief, was visiting the blockaded territory. Two civilians were wounded in one of three attacks on smuggling tunnels along the border with Egypt. The other targets included two open areas in Khan Younis and a metal foundry near Gaza City. An Israeli military spokesman confirmed six sites had been targeted, including two tunnels dug near the Israeli border fence and a weapons manufacturing site, and added "direct hits were identified." The rocket attack, from a radical Palestinian group with suspected ties to al-Qaeda, was the third in 24 hours, but the first deadly attack from Gaza at Israel in more than a year."

Scott Brown effect: Is Boxer’s seat next?: "The dramatic shift in poll numbers in the California Senate race — a surge for former US Rep. Tom Campbell for the GOP nomination and a double-digit drop for Senator Barbara Boxer (D) since January — has serious national implications, according to political analysts. A California Field Poll released Thursday shows Mr. Campbell running ahead of businesswoman Carly Fiorina by six points and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore by 19 points among likely GOP primary election voters. Perhaps more important, say analysts, is that more voters now have an unfavorable than favorable view of the incumbent Ms. Boxer, and she is essentially tied when matched against Campbell (44 to 43 percent) or Ms. Fiorina (44 to 45 percent). Poll director Mark DiCamillo told the Sacramento Bee that ‘the tenor of political discourse’ has clearly changed in California since Republican Scott Brown registered an upset victory in the Massachusetts Senate race in January. Others agree.”

Warships blasting Somali pirates out of water: "An international fleet of warships is attacking and destroying Somali pirate vessels closer to the shores of East Africa and the new strategy, combined with more aggressive confrontations further out to sea, has dealt the brigands a setback, officials and experts said Thursday. The new tactics by the European Union naval force comes after Spain— which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, and whose fishing vessels are frequent pirate targets — encouraged more aggressive pursuit of pirates and the coalition obtained more aircraft and other military assets, said Rear Adm. Peter Hudson, the force commander.”

Chaffetz wants to “ferret out” federal workers with unpaid taxes: "Working for Uncle Sam comes with some great perks, like job stability, posh benefits packages, and in many cases, average salaries that are higher than what the same job pays in the private sector. That’s why Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is irked that nearly 100,000 civilian federal employees owe the IRS $962 million in back taxes. He thinks they should pay up or be fired.”

IKEA, Sweden & the inheritance tax: Lessons for the US: "America sits at the same economic crossroads today that Sweden faced five years ago. Sweden’s experience in eliminating the death tax could help the United States save businesses and add jobs at a critical time. Once known as Europe’s socialist paradise, Sweden still has one of the world’s highest top income tax rates (57 percent). But like the US, it no longer has an inheritance tax, or what Americans commonly refer to as the estate or ‘death’ tax. The Swedish Parliament abolished its inheritance tax in late 2004. … The country’s entrepreneurs were moving offshore — and taking their companies with them. The death tax was only making a bad situation worse.”

Corruption on the British Left: "The union behind the British Airways strike has received £18million from taxpayers under Labour, The Daily Telegraph can disclose. Unite, and the two unions that formed it, received the public money under two little-known funds to improve management and training for its members. It has been the biggest beneficiary of one of the schemes, the Union Modernisation Fund, and received a sixth of all the money given out under the Union Learning Fund. The figures have led to fresh claims that Britain’s biggest union has taken over the Labour Party after donating almost £30million over the past decade and employing a key adviser to Gordon Brown as its political director. It comes ahead of a planned three-day walkout by Unite members of BA’s cabin crew this weekend, which is set to cause travel chaos for thousands of passengers. Francis Maude, the Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, said: “This really looks like money laundering - taxpayers' money is being funnelled into Unite then put straight back into Labour's coffers. “It's a real racket, with taxpayers' money being round-tripped into Gordon Brown's re-election fund. We must have much greater transparency on what unions are receiving from the Labour Government in return for their backhanders.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


18 March, 2010

Leftist argumentation

I noted on Greenie Watch recently the low quality of Green/Left argumentation. Almost all of it is ad hominem abuse or appeals to authority. Any interest in the facts of a matter is conspicuously absent. I am sure that most conservative bloggers find the same in emails that they get from Leftists.

Just for fun, however, I thought I might put up here the latest such email that I have received from a Leftist. As per usual it is pure abuse and full of hate. It comes from an Allan Blackburn [tnewt@freeway.net].
I was reading your anti health care blog in America, when I came upon the fact that you are from Australia, have been married four times, and are about as redneck as they come. Please stay in Australia. If you are an example of someone who is professing to tell Americans how to live, with your value system as it is, where marriage is an institute of; "Love for the moment," please stay in Australia and focus your attentions on your own issues as well as your countries.

You remind me of Rush Limbaugh who has spread conservative hate mongering, against drug addiction, until he was caught engaging in illegal doctor shopping and then screamed; "I have a disease," and demanded the need to go to treatment which he denied to others for years.

They must have a mold that turns out people like you. Every fifth person, popping out of the womb, instant A-hole. Thanks for the laughs.
If that is an example of Leftist brains, no wonder America is in such a mess at the moment. I also note that even a Ph.D. who disagrees with him is a "redneck" apparently: A typical example of how Leftists use words for their abusive impact rather than their meaning.

Mr Blackburn is apparently in the business of "detoxing" druggies and alcoholics. One wonders if such a hate-filled and angry person is really appropriate in that role.


Why Obama Is Unhappy

He's omniscient and benevolent. Doesn't he deserve to be omnipotent too?

Excerpt from JAMES TARANTO:

The latest effort to psychoanalyze President Obama comes from Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor of the Washington Post. Hiatt offers "a theory about why President Obama is having a tough political time right now: He doesn't seem all that happy being president."

But Hiatt gets it backward. Obama isn't having political difficulty because he's unhappy; he's unhappy because he's having political difficulty. Or, as the president himself put it in an Ohio ObamaCare speech yesterday: " The American people want to know if it's still possible for Washington to look out for their interests and their future. They are waiting for us to act. They are waiting for us to lead. And as long as I hold this office, I intend to provide that leadership. I don't know about the politics. But I know what's right."

He knows what's right. And he cares so much about the American people that he is determined to do what is right, whether we want it done to us or not. Yet he keeps coming up against delays and obstructions. Where's the fairness in that? If he's omniscient and benevolent, doesn't he deserve to be omnipotent too?

You can see why this is frustrating for the president. No one doubts what needs to be done for the people --no one, that is, except the people. They tell anyone who'll listen that ObamaCare scares them to death. They even voted a Republican into the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts!

An Independent Women's Voice poll of voters in 35 "key swing districts," all represented by Democrats, finds that 60% think Congress should scrap ObamaCare and either start over or give up entirely. A plurality say they'd be more likely to support their congressman if he voted for ObamaCare in November and against it now.

Obama knows what's right, and he keeps telling us, but we refuse to get the message. As a result, Jim Clyburn, the House majority whip, tells McClatchy Newspapers he's not sure ObamaCare will come to the floor before Easter. That suggests that he and other Democratic leaders are having trouble rounding up the 216 votes they need to pass the legislation. You can see why they would be, if they listen to their poor deluded constituents.

That's why President Obama is unhappy. The American people voted for change. Dammit, why won't we change?



The Worst Crisis in 35 Years?

by Daniel Pipes

On the surface, that the Obama administration decided one fine day to pick a fight with the government of Israel looks like an unmitigated disaster for the Jewish state. What could be worse than its most important ally provoking the worst crisis (according to the Israeli ambassador to Washington) since 1975?

A closer look, however, suggests that this gratuitous little spat might turn out better for Jerusalem than for the White House.

(1) It concerns not a life-and-death issue, such as the menace of Iran's nuclear buildup or Israel's right to defend itself from Hamas predations, but the triviality of the timing of a decision to build new housing units in Israel's capital city. Wiser heads will insist that White House amateurs end this tempest in a teapot and revert to normal relations.

(2) If Obama et al. hope to bring down Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government, they can't count Knesset seats. Peeling away Labor will lead to its replacement by rightist parties.

(3) An Israeli consensus exists to maintain sovereignty over eastern Jerusalem, so provoking a crisis on this issue strengthens Netanyahu.

(4) Conversely, U.S. histrionics make the Palestinian Authority's Mahmoud Abbas more reluctant to enter into Washington's counterproductive negotiations.

(5) A recent poll of American voters shows an astonishing 8-to-1 sympathy for Israel over the Palestinians, so picking a fight with Israel harms Obama politically - precisely what a president sinking in the polls and attempting to transform one-sixth of the economy does not need.



Neo-Soviet Russia and America

A revolution is brewing in Vladimir Putin's Russia. The chickens of his incompetence and shameless artifice are finally coming home to roost. Now, he has only neo-Soviet brutality to fall back upon. How long that will maintain him, only the likes of Barack Obama can say.

The Bruce Springsteen of Russia, Yuri Shevchuk of the seminal rock band DDT, recently launched into an unprecedented, lengthy, and biting critique of the Putin regime from the stage of one of Russia's most prestigious arenas. A video of the speech went viral and has already been viewed nearly 200,000 times and received over 500 comments. Then an online petition surfaced, attracting the support of virtually every significant opposition leader, and it too went viral. The call: Putin must go, now and permanently. The websites hosting the petitions were soon under furious attack from Putin's army of hackers.

Russians have good reasons to despise the increasingly neo-Soviet regime that Putin, a proud KGB spy, has created. And despite the shameful lack of support from Barack Obama and other craven Western leaders, they have good reason to be brave enough to challenge him.

When he came to power two years ago, Russia's so-called "president" Dmitri Medvedev (in reality nothing more than Putin's puppet) promised that he would bring a new level of fairness to Russia's infamously corrupt electoral process. But exactly the opposite has happened. A Russian court has totally banned Russia's most salient opposition party, Yabloko, from taking part in the next round of elections in the Russian regions. The court upheld the actions of local political leaders who rejected electoral petitions simply because they "just looked false." Grigori Melkonyants, deputy director of Russia's only independent election monitoring-organization, puts it bluntly: "The most important thing for officials is to get the necessary results."

Fairer elections are not the only campaign promise on which Medvedev has failed to deliver. According to the international accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, in 2007, when Medvedev took power, 59% of Russian companies experienced economic crime. In response, Medvedev announced a major new initiative cracking down on corruption. Yet two years later, PWC reported that 71% of Russian companies were now being victimized by economic crime. In other words, as a result of Mededev's initiative to reduce economic crime, it increased by a shocking 20%.

Transparency International also releases a global survey of corruption, a broader index that surveys more countries across a wider spectrum of economic and political ills. In 2007, Russia ranked a shocking #143 out of 180 countries surveyed. One would not have thought that the country could get any worse. But two years later, Medvedev's Russia ranked #146.

Don't take my word for it; listen instead to former Russian parliamentarian Vladimir Ryzhkov, who calls Medvedev's performance dismal." Ryzhkov points to a survey by the World Economic Forum which shows that Russia significantly deteriorated in global competitiveness during Medvedev's first two years in office, ranking a woeful 63rd out of 133 nations surveyed, including a massive drop in the quality of the justice system (another pet project of Medvedev's). A study by the World Bank, Ryzhkov says, confirmed that domestic business conditions have significantly worsened, with Russia ranking 120 out of 180 countries surveyed.

In a brutal and lengthy article, veteran Russia correspondents Owen Matthews and Anna Nemtsova of Newsweek concluded that Medvedev is a "phony liberal" both because his promised reforms were only skin-deep fa‡ades and because he continues to serve not as the genuine ruler of Russia, but as a front for KGB strongman Vladimir Putin. Putin refers to Medvedev, the reporters say, with the pronoun "ty" that is used for children and underlings, while Medvedev refers to Putin with the respectful pronoun "vy."

Last week, the Russian newspaper Trud reported that Medvedev planned to create his own political party, to "rival" the United Russia party created by Putin, who now serves as "prime minister" after term limits forced him out. Given that it's Medvedev who supposedly rules the nation after being elected on the United Russia ticket as Putin's handpicked successor, it seems odd that it is Medvedev, not Putin, who is forming the new party. If the two run against each other in 2012, when Putin is allowed back into office, Medvedev will be at a clear disadvantage.

But it's not the least bit odd if you understand that Medvedev's "presidency" is a sham. As the head of a new "party" that represents freedom and democracy, Medvedev can be presented as an entirely viable candidate to the West. Then, when Putin crushes him, he not only proves that Russia has a real democracy, but that Russians don't want democracy. Instead, they'll appear to want the Soviet-style dictatorship that Putin has long been forming.

It's actually quite a brilliant scheme on Putin's part. Putin is likely delighted to see that Russia's performance has become even worse under Medvedev because it gives him the chance to further justify a return to power. Never mind that under Putin's two terms, Russia's scores dropped enough to lag behind some of the most lawless African states. Putin can claim that he is once again riding to Russia's rescue.

The scheme can work only because of the poor excuse for leadership being provided by the Obama administration, which has driven France into Putin's waiting arms and which has remained silent despite the opportunity to speak out for freedom that the Kremlin's ongoing failure has presented.

Obama's State Department recently released a human rights report that scathingly condemned Russia for state-sponsored kidnapping, torture, and murder in the Caucasus region, and of liquidating reporters who try to tell the tale. Yet Obama himself has remained silent and chosen to ignore the fraudulent nature of Russia's government. Instead of seeking to reset Russia's neo-Soviet decline, Obama has suggested resetting only U.S. attitudes towards Russia, in other words appeasement.

That means it's up to others, especially the leaders of the Republican Party, to show solidarity with the brave Russians who now seek to stop their country's slide into neo-Soviet oblivion.




VT: State sued over phone tracking: "The ACLU of Vermont is suing the state after unsuccessfully seeking to find out whether police agencies are using cellphone tracking technology to keep tabs on people's whereabouts. The state attorney general's office refused public records requests by the ACLU seeking information about the practice, saying that information is exempt from public records statutes. So the ACLU filed suit Monday in Washington Superior Court, asking a judge to force the state to produce documents under the Public Records Act. `The attorney general's behavior here is a real breach of trust,' said Allen Gilbert, executive director. `The Public Records Act specifically requires public agencies to explain the factual basis for denying a request.'"

Senate passes "jobs" bill for Obama's signature: "Companies that hire unemployed workers will get a temporary payroll tax holiday under a bill that easily won congressional approval Wednesday in what Democrats hope is just the first of several election-year measures aimed at boosting hiring. The 68-29 bipartisan vote in the Senate sent the legislation to the White House, where President Barack Obama was expected to sign it into law Thursday."

Recent cases show challenge of US terrorists : "The growing front in the war on terrorism may be no farther than Main Street. The terror cases that have emerged in the past week have one common characteristic: The suspects are all Americans. One is a woman who looked after the elderly in suburban Pennsylvania. Another a security guard from New Jersey. Altogether more than a dozen Americans have been captured or pursued for allegedly supporting jihad, or holy war, over the past two years."

Medicare fraud costs taxpayers more than $60 billion each year : "A four month `Nightline' investigation into Medicare fraud makes one thing perfectly clear: this is a crime that pays and pays and pays. The federal government admits that a staggering $60 billion is stolen from tax payers through Medicare scams every year. Some experts believe the number is more than twice that."

Judge refuses to delay Blagojevich corruption trial: "A federal judge denied a request by former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to push back his trial date, saying he has had plenty of time to prepare. . Mr. Blagojevich was arrested Dec. 9, 2008, on charges that he tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama. He has pleaded not guilty to racketeering conspiracy and other charges."

National broadband plan creates FCC central planning: "The long-awaited National Broadband Plan, hot off the presses of the Federal Communications Commission Tuesday, is an impressive document-if one is impressed by a federal agency grossly inflating its competence and proposing a vast expansion of its power. It's important to remember that Congress last year asked the FCC to do something relatively simple and straightforward after passing the 'stimulus' bill: Propose ways the government might increase access to broadband and make it more affordable."

Is the current recovery a pinata with no candy inside? : "In sum, when we disaggregate the recent increase in personal income, we find signs that the recovery has been weaker and less sustainable than many observers have taken it to be. Not all sources of personal income are created equal, and in the present circumstances, not even the rise in personal rental income counts as grounds for optimism. Because the recovery, such as it is, has begun only recently, it may acquire a healthier tone as it proceeds, if indeed it does. For the moment, however, we must recognize that recent changes give little warrant to the expectation of a full, sustainable recovery in the near term."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


17 March, 2010

Why Are We Still Bowing?

Not long after President Barack Obama gave his conciliatory speeches to the Islamic world, he chose not to meddle in the sham election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In fact, he offered not a word of support for the men and women who took to the streets against that totalitarian regime. Then, as "manmade disasters" continued to erupt spontaneously around the world -- including at a United States military base -- the administration held steadfast in using non-offensive euphemisms, lest anyone be slighted by our jingoist need to use words that mean something.

And when the president was given a chance to fulfill a campaign promise and acknowledge the genocide of 1.5 million Christian Armenians by Turks during World War I, he instead did everything he could to block the resolution.

These days, as Christian farmers are being slaughtered by Muslim machetes in Nigeria, outrage from the White House is difficult to find -- though it made sure to instruct our Libyan ambassador to apologize to "Colonel" Moammar Gadhafi after he offered some mildly critical comments about the dictator's call for jihad against Switzerland (true story).

Gadhafi can be forgiven, but there are transgressions that can't. One such sin was perpetrated by Israel after the nation's decision to allow a new housing project to be built for its citizens in its capital city, Jerusalem. The White House became so agitated with the future 1,600-unit housing project -- and the ill-advised timing of the announcement, which came during Vice President Joe Biden's visit -- that the casual onlooker might have been led to believe that the Jerusalem neighborhood in question was part of some unfinished negotiation with Palestinians or even that it was one of those "settlements." It was neither.

Still, according to The Jerusalem Post, Hillary Clinton telephoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- who, along with many other Israeli officials, apologized for the ill timing of the project's announcement -- to "berate," "rebuke," "warn" and "condemn" Israel. White House senior adviser David Axelrod used NBC's "Meet the Press" to say that the incident was an "affront," an "insult" and "very, very destructive."

As the administration was manufacturing this anger, the Palestinian Authority was preparing the newly minted Dalal Mughrabi Square. You know, just a place for folks to gather and commemorate the 32nd anniversary of 1978's Coastal Road Massacre, in which 37 Israelis -- 13 of them children -- were murdered in a bus hijacking. An American named Gail Rubin, who happened to be snapping some nature pictures in the area, also was gunned down. No worries. No affront taken. That's not "very, very destructive" to the process. We are above the fray, above frivolous notions of "allies" or "friends." History only matters when our enemies deem it important. We don't want to tweak the fragile mood of the Arab street.

If the purpose of this manufactured angst is to pressure Israel into handing parts of Jerusalem over to a corrupt Fatah (we don't need to discuss Hamas, which, unlike Fatah, has the decency not to pretend to recognize Israel's right to exist), then someone is exhibiting a profound naivete. And if the purpose of pursuing a Jewish-free West Bank is to create good will with the Muslim world, good luck.

It is this administration's prerogative to change our foreign policy -- and allies. Yet it would be nice if someone reiterated to our new Muslim friends that the United States has yet to deploy a single soldier to risk life and limb for the security of Israel. It has, however -- only recently -- sent thousands of Americans to perish for, in part, the cause of Muslim freedom in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo. That sacrifice alone should be enough to absolve us from any more bowing -- or kowtowing.



A Fraud Fights Fox News

Howell Raines lost his executive editor's job at The New York Times for promoting the career of Jayson Blair, a black drug addict and fantasist who invented entire stories describing the hills of West Virginia from a saloon down the street in New York. But somehow, Raines still imagines himself a media Bigfoot who can pronounce on the State of Journalism, a one-man Pulitzer Prize panel. This is a little like a White House chef who poisoned an entire state-dinner crowd mounting a soapbox to lecture that the new chefs can't be trusted.

Of course, that soapbox must be provided first. So who would give this naked man a fig leaf of respectability? The Washington Post would. The Posties awarded Raines their marquee venue -- the Sunday Outlook section -- to denounce Fox News Channel and its owner, Rupert Murdoch. Announcing this was tugging at his "professional conscience" (thus suggesting he has one), Raines demanded to know "Why can't American journalists steeped in the traditional values of their profession be loud and candid about the fact that Murdoch does not belong to our team?"

What has Murdoch done to break with the "team" of American media? Raines lamented his "blatant political alliances started our slide to quasi-news. His British papers famously promoted Margaret Thatcher's political career." No! But wait, this one's even more rich; he also declared, "For the first time since the yellow journalism of a century ago, the United States has a major news organization devoted to the promotion of one political party."

Raines expects people to believe you can say "news media" and "Barack Obama" and not think "blatant political alliance." On Sunday, his New York Times published a half-page "photo illustration" of Obama's head at the center of a cross, surrounded by a halo glow of white light.

But let's continue. Raines then indicted Fox News president Roger Ailes. "Through clever use of the Fox News Channel and its cadre of raucous commentators, Ailes has overturned standards of fairness and objectivity that have guided American print and broadcast journalists since World War II." After sentences like that, conservatives have to put the paper down. The laughter is beginning to deprive oxygen to the lungs.

Raines cannot be serious, and he isn't. This article makes much more sense if you read it in Raines Code. What he's saying is this: The "old-school news organizations" are the exclusive venue for liberals and liberal activism. Who let these fair-and-balanced pretenders in here to create the "news" differently? He charged that Ailes has torn up "the rulebook that served this country well as we covered the major stories of the past three generations, from the civil rights revolution to Watergate to the Wall Street scandals." Raines Code translation: Damn you, Ailes. You broke us.

Do the liberal media remember civil rights, Watergate and Vietnam as events they covered with objectivity? Do they deny (and deny warmly recalling) how their passionate advocacy defeated segregation, militarism and Richard Nixon?

Even when he's so dishonestly trying to wrap himself in an objectivity blanket, Raines still can't help but spew his leftist opinion. His liberal-media team "bore witness to a world of dynamic change, as opposed to the world of Foxian reality, whose actors are brought on camera to illustrate a preconceived universe as rigid as that of medieval morality."

The media are, in his view, dynamic activists in the Hope and Change business. He is outraged that Fox News has stalled health "reform." In his Orwellian Raines Code, liberal bias is objectivity, and the refusal to banish Fox News from the media is surrendering "the sword of verifiable reportage."

It's certainly not "verifiable reportage" to insist the media haven't been partisan in 100 years, or that Fox News is currently conducting an anti-presidential "campaign without precedent in our modern political history." Decrying president-bashing sounds a little tinny from a man who viciously charged after Hurricane Katrina that President Bush protected Big Oil "while the poor drown in their attics and their sons and daughters die in foreign deserts."

The most important rebuttal to Raines is this: In a free country -- which America still is, barely, despite the designs of liberals -- media elitists do not get to decide who is allowed to report, and who is banished from the briefing room. They don't get to select a unanimous liberal "team" and a rigidly liberal "rulebook." Fox News exists. It can't be legislated away by Nancy Pelosi, and it can't be wished away by Howell Raines. It's popular with millions of Americans who've spent their entire lives being pelted by the mudslinging of the Fox-hating media "team."

Poor Howell Raines. His New York Times is crumbling while the Fox News Channel was just named the most trusted news network in America by the public. Those ... peasants!



Reading Tea Party Leaves

by Jonah Goldberg

If you read the Op-Ed pages these days, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the GOP and the conservative movement have been taken over by know-nothing mobs, anti-intellectual demagogues and pitchfork-wielding bigots. There's no omnibus label for this argument, but it's a giveaway that a person subscribes to it if he or she describes the "tea party" movement as "tea baggers," an awfully telling bit of sophomoric condescension from the camp that affects the pose of being more high-minded.

The case against the tea party movement is constantly evolving. Initially, they were written off as "astroturfers," faux populists paid by K Street lobbyists to provide damaging footage for Fox News' Obama coverage. Then, they were deemed racists who couldn't handle having a black president.

But now that the movement, or, more broadly, the Obama backlash is so widespread, it's chalked up to populist anti-elitism. New York Times columnist David Brooks and others argue that the tea party movement is kith and kin of the 1960s New Left, because they share a "radically anti-conservative" hatred of "the system" and a desire to start over.

Brooks was seconding an article by Michael Lind in Salon, in which Lind argues that the right has become a "counterculture (that) refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of the rules of the game that it has lost" (respect for rules is an ironic benchmark given the lengths the Democrats are going to pass ObamaCare in Congress). Whereas the Luddites and know-nothings once dropped out for the "Summer of Love," today's Luddites and know-nothings have signed up for the "Winter of Hate."

It's all so much nonsense. The Boston Tea Party would make a strange lodestar for an anti-American movement. The tea partiers certainly aren't "dropping out" of the system; if they were, we wouldn't be talking about them. And they aren't reading Marxist tracts in a desire to "tear down the system" either. They're reading Thomas Paine, the founders and Friedrich Hayek in the perhaps naive hope that they'll be able to restore the principles that are supposed to be guiding the system. (To the extent they're reading radicals such as Saul Alinsky, it's because they've been told that's the best way to understand his disciple in the White House.)

Restoration and destruction are hardly synonymous terms or desires. And maybe that's a better label: a political restoration movement, one that reflects our Constitution and the precepts of limited government.

The restorationists are neither anti-elitist nor anti-intellectual. William F. Buckley famously said that he would rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than the Harvard faculty, but few would dispute that the Latin-speaking harpsichord player who used summer and winter as verbs was anything but an elitist. Similarly, the restorationists have any number of hero intellectuals (from Buckley and Thomas Sowell to Hayek and Ayn Rand).

The "elite" the restorationists dislike is better understood as a "new class" (to borrow a phrase from the late Irving Kristol). The legendary economist Joseph Schumpeter predicted in 1942 that capitalism couldn't survive because capitalist prosperity would feed a new intellectual caste that would declare war on the bourgeois values and institutions that generate prosperity in the first place. When you hear that conservatives are anti-elitist, you should think they're really anti-new class. Conservatives see this new class of managers, meddlers, planners and scolds as a kind of would-be secular aristocracy empowered to declare war on traditional arrangements and make other decisions "for your own good."

And that's why Obama backlash is part of the culture war. Defenders of ObamaCare, cap-and-trade and the rest of the Democratic agenda insist that they're merely applying the principles of good governance and the lessons of sound, sober-minded policymaking. No doubt there's some truth to that, at least in terms of their motives. But from a broader perspective, it is obvious that theirs is a cultural agenda as well.

The quest for single-payer health care is not primarily grounded in good economics nor in good politics but in a heartfelt ideological desire for "social justice." The constant debate over whether the "European model" is better than ours often sounds like an empirical debate, but at its core it's a cultural and philosophical argument that stretches back more than a century.

The restorationists reside on one side of that debate, while the Obama administration and the bulk of the progressive establishment reside on the other. And that debate is far from over.



Politicians Smother Cities

by John Stossel

I like my hometown, but I must admit that New York has problems: high taxes, noise, traffic. Forbes magazine just ranked my city the 16th most miserable in America. Ouch! Of course, that makes me wonder: What's America's most miserable city? Cleveland, says Forbes. People call it "the Mistake by the Lake. " Cleveland, once America's sixth-largest city, has been going downhill for decades.

Why do some cities thrive while others decay? One reason is that some politicians smother their cities with the unintended consequences of their grand visions, while others have the good sense to limit government power. In a state that already taxes its citizens heavily, Cleveland's politicians drown businesses in taxes. One result: Since 2000, 50,000 people have left the city. Half of Cleveland's population has left since 1950.

But the politicians haven't learned. They still think government is the key to revitalization. While Indianapolis privatized services, Cleveland prefers state capitalism. It owns and operates a big grocery store, the West Side Market. Typical of government, it's open only four days a week, and two of those days it closes at 4 p.m. The city doesn't maintain the market very well. Despite those cost savings, the city manages to lose money running the market. It also loses money running golf courses -- $400,000 last year.

Another way that cities like Cleveland cause their own decline is through regulations that make building anything a long drawn-out affair. Cleveland has 22 different zoning designations and 673 pages of zoning guidelines. By contrast, Houston has almost no zoning. This permits a mix of uses and styles that gives the city vitality. And the paperwork in Houston is so light that a business can get going in a single afternoon. In Cleveland, one politician bragged that he helped a business get though the red tape in "just 18 months."

Randall O'Toole, author of "The Best-Laid Plans: How Government Planning Harms Your Quality of Life, Your Pocketbook, and Your Future", says Houston does have rules, but they are more flexible and responsive to citizens' needs because they are set by neighborhood associations based on protective covenants written by developers.

Politicians' rules rarely change because the politicians don't have their own money on the line. Cleveland's managers thought that funding gleaming new sports stadiums (which subsidize wealthy team owners) and other prestigious attractions like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame would revitalize their city. Urban policy expert Joel Kotkin says, "This whole tendency to put what are scarce public funds into conventions centers and ... ephemeral projects is delusional."

But politicians claim that stadiums increase the number of jobs. Not so, says J.C. Bradbury, author of "The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed." "There's a huge consensus among economists that there is no economic development benefit to having these stadiums," he says.

The stadiums do create jobs for construction workers and some vendors. But "it's a case of the seen and the unseen," Bradbury says, alluding to the 19th-century French economist Frederic Bastiat. "It's very easy to see a new stadium going up. ... But what you don't see is that something else didn't get built across town. ... It's just transferring from one place to the other. "People don't bury their entertainment dollars in a coffee can in their backyard and then dig it up when a baseball team comes to town. They switch it from something else." Stadiums are among the more foolish of politicians' boondoggles. There are only 81 home baseball games a year and 41 basketball games. How does that sustain a neighborhood economy?

But the arrogance of city planners knows no end. Now Cleveland is spending taxpayers' money on a medical convention center that they say will turn Cleveland into a "Disney World" for doctors. Well, Chicago's $1 billion expansion of the country's biggest convention center -- McCormick Place -- was unable to prevent an annual drop in conventions, and analysts say America already has 40 percent more convention space than it needs. Politicians would be better stewards of their cities if they set simple rules and then just got out of the way. I won't hold my breath.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


16 March, 2010

Marco Rubio and the Republicans Who Love Him

Marco Rubio laughs at the idea, heard from some pundits recently, that he's the "Republican Obama." "I'm not sure people even want to be the Democrat Obama these days," he says. For Rubio, the unlikely front-runner in the Florida Republican Senate primary race, the label is a measure of the unhappiness many people feel with their political choices at any given moment. "There's always this constant desire for new people to enter the process," he explains. Now, he's the new guy.

Challenging the head of your party is not necessarily the path to political glory, but that's what Rubio has done in the race against Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Last May, when Rubio, the former speaker of the state House, announced his candidacy, the first three polls done in the race showed him trailing Crist by 35, 37 and 31 points, respectively.

These days, the most recent poll, done by Public Policy Polling in early March, shows Rubio up by 32 points -- an astonishing 60-plus-point swing. In a conversation before a speech to the conservative Club for Growth here in Palm Beach, Rubio downplays his lead. He didn't get upset when the polls showed him behind, he says, so he's "not going to get too excited about them with six months to go and we're up by a few points." But Rubio knows the numbers reflect something happening with the voters.

The Obama agenda scares people. "I do not believe the president fully supports the free-enterprise system that I support," Rubio says. Florida Republicans, Rubio believes, know in their hearts that Crist "is not going to go to Washington and stand up to this agenda and be part of offering an alternative -- he's just not going to do it." Crist's recent praise for the stimulus and tendency to accommodate Obamacare suggest Rubio is right.

Rubio watched closely as Republican Scott Brown pulled off a political miracle in Massachusetts. First, Rubio learned how incredibly intense a high-profile race can become down the stretch -- he better be ready for that. But more importantly, he saw how critical it is to "focus like a laser on a couple of key issues."

"In that campaign, (Brown) was often tempted to get involved in side issues; he was invited to join (Democrat Martha Coakley) in the weeds and talk about things that didn't matter," Rubio says. "But the fact that he focused on the important issues, the things that mattered to real people in the real world, is ultimately what got him over the top, and it's what we're going to strive to do in our election as well."

For Rubio, that means the economic issues -- "national debt, job creation, how our tax code and government spending are discouraging job creation, and entitlement reform. Those are the central issues of the moment."

That doesn't mean cultural matters are unimportant. One clue with Rubio is the rubber wristband he wears signifying concern for "life issues." (Another wristband reflects his interest in autism.) And in the 2008 GOP primaries, Rubio supported Mike Huckabee, a favorite of pro-lifers and evangelicals. "I didn't necessarily think he was the favorite or quite frankly had a great chance to win," Rubio says of the former Arkansas governor. "I really thought he did a good job of making the compelling argument that the social and moral well-being of people is linked to their economic well-being." Today, Rubio counts Huckabee as "a great friend and a good ally."

Early in the Florida race, Rubio won the support of conservative hero Sen. Jim DeMint, but much of the Washington GOP establishment, including Senate re-election chief Sen. John Cornyn, reflexively took Crist's side against the young challenger. Today, Rubio says things are fine, but he still sounds a little cool. "It's never been adversarial," he says of his relationship with establishment lawmakers. "I don't really know them. I've met Sen. Cornyn a couple of times and have respect for him. I have respect for (minority) leader (Mitch) McConnell."

Rubio, born in Miami to Cuban exiles in 1971, is about as fresh a face as you get in a Senate race. He gives a tremendous speech about his love for American free enterprise and opportunity. Politically savvy Republicans across the country are falling in love with him, but they're also realizing they don't really know a lot about him. That's what campaigns are for. By the time Election Day comes around, they're hoping Marco Rubio will turn out to be every bit as good as he seems.



Student Protests Illustrate Greedy Entitlement Mentality, Not Idealism

On March 4th, university students across the country participated in angry protests against tuition increases and budget cuts on their campuses. The demonstrators portrayed themselves as victims of oppression—ignoring the fact that the University of California system, for instance, already subsidizes each of them to the tune of more than $10,000 a year beyond tuition!

In other words, the arrogant students weren’t asking for more freedom, or even more power—just more money. Their sense of entitlement really means they want all citizens—even those whose children will never attend college—to pay more to privileged students who already receive hefty taxpayer support. At a time of budget crisis, it’s not unreasonable to expect that rising costs should fall primarily on those who benefit most directly from expensive, excellent state university systems: the students.



Sex, drugs and BlackBerrys

On the stimulus package's one-year anniversary on Feb. 17, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. stated that taxpayers had "gotten their money's worth." However, it is difficult to understand how multimillion-dollar "stimulus" programs that research methamphetamine's effects on rats, build turtle crossings under highways, put up roadside signs to advertise stimulus programs and produce few long-term jobs are effective uses of taxpayer dollars. In Washington, $977,346 is being spent on a program that will provide just one job and give a few hundred BlackBerrys to smokers to help them kick the habit.

In February 2009, supporters of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which has since ballooned to $862 billion, claimed the stimulus package would keep unemployment from going higher than 8 percent; create 3.5 million jobs, 90 percent of which would be in the private sector; and pave the way for long-term economic recovery. Yet, in the 12 months since the legislation's passage, unemployment rose as high as 10.2 percent and remains at 9.7 percent while 2.8 million people have lost their jobs.

Concerns over the efficiency and efficacy of the stimulus package have sparked the attention of leading economists, many of whom are uneasy about the ever-increasing amount of government spending and rapidly rising national debt. Harvard University economics professor Robert Barro estimated in a Feb. 23 Wall Street Journal article that when figured over five years, the stimulus package would infuse $600 billion of public expenditures into the economy while siphoning $900 billion from the coffers of private entities.

President Obama assured Americans the stimulus package would focus recovery and growth in the private sector; however, just 140,765 nonpublic jobs have originated from ARRA funding, according to a December analysis by Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at George Mason University's Mercatus Center. In other words, approximately four of every five jobs created by the ARRA were in the public sector, while 49 of every 50 jobs lost since the stimulus package was enacted were private-sector posts.

The expansion of public programs is plundering from private pocketbooks instead of allowing American enterprises to invest into demand-driven initiatives that effectively and sustainably would grow bottom lines and expand employment opportunities. The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), for instance, received $5 billion in the stimulus - 20 times its regular budget over a two-year period. In some states, it has grown by even larger margins. For example, Texas' WAP will receive $362 million, 5,400 percent over its 2008 allocation of $6 million.

After declaring victory on the first stimulus, the White House and congressional leaders have touted the necessity of a second stimulus, calling nearly every new bill on the House and Senate floor a "jobs bill." One such piece of legislation that would cost taxpayers $107.6 billion includes an extension of tax breaks that have been renewed annually for years; a second option, estimated to cost $15 billion, includes a tax break for small businesses that hire workers.

Members of Congress understand that if the unemployment rate is not reduced, they may lose their own jobs in November. Too often, however, their employment solution has been to "steer" the economy through massive expenditures. But in their meager attempts to prevent another Great Depression, Congress has accrued the Great Debt. Legislators cannot be allowed to mortgage our children's future to pay for their spending addiction.

The stimulus has been subject to a great deal of analysis and propaganda, and it is time to set the record straight. Citizens Against Government Waste is launching a new online resource, mywastedtaxdollars.org, which will be a clearinghouse for identifying wasted stimulus dollars. If Washington is allowed to continue its unbridled spending with limited citizen reprisal, the American economy will most certainly suffer damaging consequences.

Despite Mr. Biden's belief that citizens "got their money's worth" from the stimulus package, analysis of the programs and their results that will appear on the new Web site will demonstrate otherwise. While policymakers spent $389,357 researching malt liquor and marijuana use in Buffalo, N.Y., and $219,000 finding the relationship between casual sex and alcohol consumption, hardworking Americans lost their salaries. The nation cannot afford another stimulus that pillages the resources of job providers and private citizens. Instead, Congress needs to cut government waste and adopt policies that will reap tangible benefits for the country's current and future posterity.



In Defense of the Filibuster

Never mind that Democrats have controlled both the House and the Senate since 2007, following wins in the 2006 midterm election. Never mind that a Democratic president was elected in 2008. Never mind that congressional Democrats wasted the year that followed, during which they could have passed virtually any piece of legislation they desired, but chose instead to bicker over the details of a socialist health-care takeover. Why focus on these facts, when one can choose instead to dine from the ruling party’s ever-growing buffet of lies?

The newest lie is that Senate Republicans, by using the filibuster (which enables forty-one senators to stall the other fifty-nine), are exercising legislative tyranny and obstructing progress.

The GOP is portrayed as a bunch of right-wing meanies standing in the way of not only government, but the will of the people. This “Party of No” myth has been pushed aggressively since the election of Republican Scott Brown, “Mr. 41.” Prior to his victory, Republicans could have been outvoted on health-care reform, federal handouts, welfare increases, and all the rest, had only the bumbling Democrats been able to get their act together.

As members of both parties know, but tend to forget when they are in the majority, the filibuster exists for a reason. The fact that it is stalling a radical anti-American agenda is not indicative of flawed design or failure of purpose; like a well-built dam holding back the crushing waters of a raging river, the filibuster is functioning precisely as intended by protecting citizens’ interests from a legally elected, yet ideologically traitorous, majority.

It seems likely that so-called progressivism will be dealt a severe blow in the next election; until then, we ought to be grateful for any tool, including the filibuster, able to impede its march.

Certain members of the majority have proposed changing the Senate’s rules. They would abandon the filibuster and institute majority rule, by which party-line votes could determine the law of the land. But what proponents forget, or perhaps ignore, is that the Senate was never intended to reflect fickle public opinion like the House. When the hot-headed masses are ready to sprint in a new direction, it is the Senate that says, “Hold on. Slow down. Let’s think about long-term consequences, not just short-term political advantages.”

More importantly, the structure of the Senate protects small states from large ones. Doing away with the filibuster could result in a voting divide that would be not only ideological, but geographical. Currently, the South and Midwest are dominated primarily by conservative and libertarian influences, while the Northeast and West coast favor a big-government brand of liberalism. What will happen if 49% of the country is consistently outvoted by 51%, on matters of principle as well as policy? A second round of secession and civil war? God help us; the U.S. would not—could not—survive it.

It is tempting for any Senate majority, whether Democratic or Republican, to rid itself of the troublesome filibuster, but it is far better for both sides to trust in the wisdom behind it, even if it means abandoning an impatient president’s agenda during an election year. Democrats make up the majority today, but inevitably will be reduced to the minority, as a result of the endless power cycle of American government and politics.

Remember, Democrats, November is coming. You might not lose the Senate, but don’t feel too smug; 2012 is also coming. Discard the filibuster now, and, sooner or later, you will want it back.




US Israel criticism ignites firestorm in Congress: "The Obama administration's fierce denunciation of Israel last week has ignited a firestorm in Congress and among powerful pro-Israel interest groups who say the criticism of America's top Mideast ally was misplaced. Since the controversy erupted, a bipartisan parade of influential lawmakers and interest groups has taken aim at the administration's decision to publicly condemn Israel for its announcement of new Jewish housing in east Jerusalem while Vice President Joe Biden was visiting on Tuesday and then openly vent bitter frustration on Friday. With diplomats from both countries referring to the situation as a crisis, the outpouring of anger in the United States, particularly from Capitol Hill, comes at a difficult time for the administration, which is now trying to win support from wary lawmakers — many of whom are up for re-election this year — for health care reform and other domestic issues. And those criticizing the administration's unusually blunt response to Israel say they fear it may have distracted from and done damage to efforts to relaunch long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks."

GOP move on pork pressures Obama: "The House Republicans' move to ban their members from taking earmarks this year is raising pressure on the rest of Washington — including President Obama, who has seen himself outflanked on a key measure of fiscal responsibility. As a senator, Mr. Obama, like most of his colleagues, initially requested earmarks. But by 2008, in the midst of the presidential campaign, he had sworn off them, and even voted for a failed moratorium offered by Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the Republican presidential candidate. As president, he has called for Congress to impose greater transparency and to slice the number of earmarks. But last week, House Republicans went further, imposing their own moratorium on their members, and putting pressure on Senate Republicans, Democrats in both chambers, and back on Mr. Obama himself."

Tamils decide to give peace a chance: "Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party has renounced its demand for an independent Tamil homeland, but vowed to launch a Gandhi-style civil disobedience campaign for greater regional autonomy. In a manifesto for parliamentary elections on April 8, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) also pledged to lobby the international community to help the islands’ Tamil ethnic minority following the defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels last year. The TNA used to be the political wing of the Tigers, but has been forced to re-invent itself since the end of the 26-year civil war. "If the Sri Lankan state continues its present style of governance without due regard to the rights of the Tamil-speaking peoples, the TNA will launch a peaceful, non-violent campaign of civil disobedience on the Gandhian model," the party said."

Colorado Internet retail tax backfires: "More evidence that if you want less of something, tax it: The so-called "Amazon tax" on Internet retailers. In February, Colorado became the fourth state to approve the tax, which requires Internet retailers with in-state "affiliates" -- individuals operating websites with links to cyber-companies like Amazon.com -- to collect the state sales tax. New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island have already passed their own Amazon taxes. Colorado Democrats predicted that revoking what they described as the Internet sales-tax exemption would bring an additional $5 million to the state's depleted coffers. Instead, it appears the Democrat-controlled legislature has killed an entire industry at the cost of as many as 10,000 jobs. Almost immediately after Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter signed the legislation, Amazon struck back. The company sent out emails to its associates informing them that it would cease its affiliate program in Colorado. That means Colorado website operators can no longer earn income by referring customers to Amazon through links and advertising on their sites."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


15 March, 2010


Well, my cataract operation went "very, very well" according to the ophthalmic surgeon so rapid healing will hopefully ensue. The private clinic I went to could not imaginably be better, I think. Private medicine in Australia is very, very good -- as good as public medicine is bad. Yet my private health insurer is covering 100% of the charges from the clinic and from the anesthetist but I have to pay something towards the fees of the surgeon.

I was in and out quite rapidly and experienced only minimal pain and discomfort. And even now that the anesthetic has worn off I am not in any pain.

I am writing this using my one good eye at the moment and have managed to put something up today on all my blogs -- though with reduced postings in some instances. You can't keep a good blogger down. I have had multiple surgical procedures since I started blogging but I don't think I have missed a day yet. Reduced posting below, however.


Atheism and IQ again

I commented briefly last month about the rather florid claims by Kanazawa -- including a claim of a positive correlation between atheism and IQ. I noted that his findings were probably an artifact of the Leftist influence on the educational system. I am therefore rather pleased to see that a writer on the Puffington Host has drawn similar conclusions. That an atheist conservative such as myself and a religious Leftist such as Josh Schrei should come to similar conclusions does rather reinforce those conclusions, I think. His argument is an extensive and careful one but I think that his strongest point is this:
Kanazawa's test group were all Americans. In America, atheism and liberalism are both value systems embraced by the educated middle class and are part of the cultural fabric of liberal arts universities, Ivy League colleges, and the American intelligentsia. Therefore, saying that among a small group of Americans, liberals and atheists had higher IQ test scores is a bit like saying that people with more college education in this country tend to know more.
Putting it another way, smarter people are more likely to go to college and there they come under pressure to adopt Leftist ideas, which include a contempt for religion generally and Christianity in particular. As I said previously, the correlation is almost certainly a product of the sociology of the situation, not a product of genetics. There are a couple of other generally good comments here and here.

Sadly, a later article by Schrei on the same subject was much more naive and illogical. I suppose we can't expect too much from a Leftist. He should have read this.


Political gnosticism

Conservatives don’t worship the past —or at least we shouldn’t— but we do see it as a valid reference point in decision-making about the future. Those who fashion themselves more “progressive” (actually a term with its own past) suggest we should go into the future experimentally and without the safety net of tried-and-true precedence. And when certain ideas and ideals from the past are resurrected in spite of the fact that they have never worked anytime, anywhere—these “visionaries” are convinced that the reason they failed before is because those sincere people way back when were simply not as enlightened as we are today.

We are living in an era of political gnosticism. The term gnosticism is from the Greek and carries the idea of knowledge—but is especially related to various forms of superior or esoteric knowledge. Basically, a gnostic is a puffed-up know-it-all who has greater powers of insight and discernment than mere mortals. And in political terms these “best and brightest of the best and brightest” flock together just knowing that if they could run things the way Plato envisioned in his Republic—in other words, as a great big, all-seeing, all-knowing, political aristocracy—the world would be a better place. At least for them.

The new political gnostics don’t trust markets or anything else they can’t control, so they seek such control as a concession to their brilliance. Gnostics always have a better idea than average every day people. Trust them. They know. They know all. They see all.

Of course, it’s hard to pull off political gnosticism without arrogance and the propensity to impatiently lecture the moronic masses. But gnostic arrogance is surely, at least to insiders, a small price to pay for making the planes fly on time and ensuring that all the rest of us are well-fed a healthy, trans fat-free diet, and can get a number to stand in line at the clinic.

Here’s the deal. George W. Bush was “cocky.” He had a bring-it-on bravado about him that was, to many Americans, off-putting. I understand that. He was self-assured and convinced of the rightness of his ideas. I didn’t really have a problem with that. Leaders need to be confident. But there’s a difference between “cocky” and “arrogant.”

I never had the impression that our 43rd president thought of himself as the smartest guy in the nation—or the room. These days, however, I can’t help but find myself recoiling at arrogance born of political gnosticism. Sometime back, a colleague of mine remarked about someone else that, “you could almost hear the words coming down his nose as he talked.” It’s sort of like that.

At every turn, the American people—when given the chance via ballots, rallies or meetings with legislators—have sent not-so-subtle signals to Washington that they don’t want bigger government, they don’t want Obamacare, and they are not happy with what is going on. It begs the question: Why aren’t some leaders listening? Well, it’s because when you have superior knowledge and just know you are smarter than everyone else, any contrary word is just the kind of noise kids on a Charlie Brown TV Special hear when a teacher talks—blah, blah, blah.

Shortly after President John F. Kennedy had put together his cabinet during the transition period before his 1961 inaugural, someone remarked to the Speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn, about how educated and smart they all were. Rayburn replied, “But I wish at least one of them had run for sheriff at least once!”

And I find myself wishing we had some people in high places these days conversant in building something or sweating a payroll. Smart people, though—especially of the gnostic type— have difficulty grasping the concept that they might actually be wrong. It’s like that character, Sheldon, on the TV sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, who condescendingly remarked to his friend: “Howard, you know me to be a very smart man. Don't you think that if I were wrong, I'd know it?”

Apparently not. Oh, and Sheldon also said something once that pretty much describes how I feel about the future if all the socialist machinations in the hopper actually become the way things are in this country. It’s when he said: “I believe the appropriate metaphor here involves a river of excrement and a Native American water vessel without any means of propulsion.”




There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


14 March, 2010

Possible hiatus

I am going into a private clinic tomorrow to have cataract procedure on my right eye -- which I am NOT looking forward to. But it has to be done. So I have no idea how much I will be able to post over the next few days. But, like General MacArthur, I shall return.


Karl Rove update

Darby, his wife of 23 years, just divorced him in December. The marriage came under intolerable strain with the press laying siege to the house, when Rove was accused of outing Valerie Plame as a CIA agent to journalists, after her husband alleged that the White House had made false pre-war claims that Iraq had sought to buy uranium from Niger. “They were all camped out there on deathwatch,” he says, pointing out of the window. He takes delight in showing me how he would use a remote control to make the garage door go up so all the camera crews would rush forward, then close it again. “I felt badly about it after a while, but I enjoyed it at the time,” he says.

Currently being turned into a film starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts, the Plame saga ruined Scooter Libby, the vice-president’s aide, but ultimately Rove was not charged. He remains extremely bitter about what he describes as a “three-year ordeal”, and says: “It put enormous pressure on my family. Imagine what it was like when the mother of one of my son’s closest high-school classmates said, ‘I’m really looking forward to Karl Rove going to jail.’ My wife is a really sweet and strong person, but it was so tough on her that in the summer of 2005 she literally had to flee. She said, ‘I’m taking Andrew to Florida and will be back when school starts.’”

Even after he eventually left the White House in 2007, the hate campaign continued. “Once, walking through the airport in Atlanta, my son, who’s 6ft 2in, was in front and I jokingly said to Darby, ‘Isn’t that funny, Andrew’s like my security detail sheltering me from the crowd?’ She said, ‘Don’t you understand he’s afraid for you?’”

Rove and George W Bush became friends and hunting partners. Rove, a keen chef, would cook the wild dove and quail they had shot. Texas had traditionally been a Democratic state, but in 1994 Rove orchestrated a stunning upset to get Bush elected governor by targeting swing voters in rural areas and prying away Hispanics and black voters. It was Rove who suggested that Bush run for president in 2000. He cites in his book the advice that “the candidate’s authority should be limited”. Bush was happy to take a back seat and described Rove as “the man with the plan”.

In Rove’s view a campaign must be centred on a big idea and be driven by historical data on election patterns. I have never met anyone with such a mastery of detail: places and figures trip off his tongue and I get the sense that I could name any district in the country and he would tell me how they voted in 1964. He is fiercely loyal to Bush, who he insists is much underestimated. “Abraham Lincoln’s law partner once said, ‘Mr Lincoln’s great ability is to get to the nub of the thing,’ and Bush has that same ability.”

Of all the politicians Rove has met, one of those he admires most is Tony Blair. “He had his eyes wide open about what Iraq could do to his political career, but for him personal consequences were far less important than consequences of right action for the world.” He insists it was right to invade Iraq despite the death toll and the failure to find the weapons of mass destruction that were the rationale for the war. “We now know that in 1945 the Japanese were over-extended and could not maintain a long war and could have been isolated on the mainland. So did we need to drop two atomic weapons?” he asks. “In governing you have to act on the information you have, particularly in questions of life and death, war and peace. And all the information we had in the aftermath of 9/11 pointed to Saddam Hussein as a threat. Imagine the world today if we hadn’t taken him on. Sanctions were failing. This guy had thumbed his nose at the UN for the best part of a decade and was sitting atop a third of the world’s oil reserves. He didn’t have WMD but he had dual-use [nuclear] facilities and infrastructure to reconstitute these programmes quickly.”

In Rove’s view the biggest mistake of the Bush White House was the failure to respond to the charge that the president had lied to go to war. “We let this become a corrosive agent, which drained away the credibility of the administration on a wide variety of fronts.” Like Blair he believes history will look more kindly on Iraq. “The other day a guy came up to me and said, ‘You’re Karl Rove. I never voted for Bush, I voted Obama. But you tell Bush I appreciate what he did. It’s a lot harder than it looks and I appreciate him keeping us safe.’ If opponents of Bush can bring themselves to say that, then I think the vast majority of American people will eventually come round.”

By contrast he believes they are already seeing through Obama, whose popularity has nose-dived faster than any president’s in recent history. “The American people want the president to deal in the here-and-now. You never heard Bush say, ‘Well, it’s all Clinton’s fault, and I’m having to clean up the mess.’ Most Americans say, ‘You know what? I’ll listen to that for a while, but you’re the guy in charge.’ Obama has spent seven, eight, nine months working on health care when the vast majority of the American people have coverage and are content with it. And he’s sitting there saying, ‘I’m going to upend everything you’ve got in order to solve a problem I haven’t fully explained, with a method that you reject almost from the get-go. If Washington is broken, that’s President Obama’s fault. He’s been a lacklustre leader.”

Rove believes the Republicans are poised to make a comeback in the midterm elections in November, and is travelling around the country making rallying speeches. He admits he misses the White House, and I wonder if he has spotted any potential candidates for 2012 whose campaigns he would be tempted to mastermind. “I’m not paying attention,” he claims, “2010 is for them to go and prove themselves. Who on earth in 2006 would have said, ‘Oh yeah, Barack Obama, he’s the guy’? But he used 2006 wisely to make himself a better player on the national scene.”



The press no longer loves Obama?

From Newsweak:

Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, was 50 minutes late for his briefing, apparently a record for tardiness, but few reporters in the White House press room bothered to feign outrage; they didn't seem all that eager to ask him questions anyway. When his boss flew to Missouri to give another of his "high octane" (The New York Times), "impassioned" (The Washington Post) health-care speeches, no cable channel covered the event. If you are president, the only thing worse than criticism is not being covered. And the truth is, we in the press are bored with Barack.

The "mainstream media" are losing patience with, and even interest in, their erstwhile hero. President Barack Obama never had a chance with the Ailes-Murdoch crowd, of course, and it didn't take the president long to offend the fierce left wing of the blogosphere. But now, finally, the MSM, which views itself as ideologically neutral, has found ideologically neutral reasons to lose patience with him: that he may be ineffectual; that he doesn't know how to play the game; that he can't get anything done. Exhibit A: the health-care bill. The Times's Frank Rich, the astute dean of the commentariat, wrote recently that Obama has failed to "communicate a compelling narrative" in office and, as a result, "could be toast if he doesn't make good on a year's worth of false starts."

And yet this collective falling out of love is great news for Obama. Calling it quits with the MSM is just what he needs. A breakup might even save his presidency.

For one thing, almost no one likes or trusts the media. The latest Gallup survey of respected institutions puts us down with the worst of the riffraff: banks, labor unions, HMOs, and Congress. If we attack you, it only proves you must have some redeeming qualities. That jujitsu even worked in an odd and unexpected way for Bill Clinton. At the height of the Monica Lewinsky crisis in 1998, polls showed voters were not only appalled by Clinton's behavior, they were appalled by the media's obsession with it.

Obama needs to stop caring what we all write and say, a process he can start by abandoning the comfortable but incapacitating illusion that reporters are his friends. He can't and shouldn't rely on us to translate for him. We'll get it wrong. And we're the foulest of fair-weather friends. We read the polls, too, and when they plummet, we run. Yet until now, Obama has justifiably regarded the MSM as part of his base, as one of his constituencies. In fact, he thinks of himself as one of us: a member of the chattering class; a bestselling author; op-ed page habitué; student of the craft of writing, reporting, and analyzing. I asked the White House for the president's daily reading material. Here is the list I got back: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, NEWSWEEK (a man of taste, this president), Time, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, "blogs," Foreign Affairs, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN.com. "Bottom line is that he reads a ton," I was told. Sure, we need the readers, but maybe that's a few pounds too many.

The president's problem is not that he is "professorial." It's worse: He's journalistic. His conceptual and even operational home base doesn't seem to be the South Side of Chicago; it's the op-ed page of the Times, where he's spent lots of time wooing the likes of conservative columnists David Brooks and Ross Douthat. But grass-roots conservatives do not trust those guys (how could they? They write for the Times). And most voters don't read those pages in any case. Certainly most voters don't care as much about the "why" as they do the clear, plain-spoken "what" and "how." They want know, say, what the federal government is going to do about the health-care mess, and how we're supposed to cover 30 million more people and save money at the same time.

The Washington press corps, meanwhile, is concerned with other things. There is a predictable, metronomic pace to the media coverage of any presidency, and the sooner Obama embraces the Zen of dealing with it, the better off he'll be. We are at the staff-feud phase now (Is Rahm doomed? Has Axelrod overplayed his hand?), which will be followed by house-cleaning, mid-term clock--cleaning, soul-searching, spouse--consulting (Michelle will sparkle in the role), and, if all goes well, revival meeting.

To his credit, Obama is beginning to get it. The speech he gave in Missouri was the best explanation he has yet given on his health-care-reform plan. Reporters weren't paying much attention, but, if Obama is lucky, at least some voters—a.k.a. his real -constituents—were.



Not that hungry for change

According to the all-but-unchallenged conventional wisdom, the American people feel angry at the status quo and demand dramatic change. Why, then, do recent polls show public sentiment tilting toward the GOP — the very party that's stubbornly resisting change? And why should so many voters express increasing distrust, and even resentment, of the ruling Democrats who've tried to deliver just the sort of sweeping transformations they thought the people craved? Hope and change, it seems, morphed quickly into fear and retrenchment.

This anomalous shift has less to do with the fickleness of public attitudes, or some sudden and unprecedented ideological awakening, than it does with chronic misinterpretation of popular dissatisfaction during periods of discomfort and depression. The fact that citizens feel worried about the future of the nation doesn't mean they've lost confidence in themselves. By 3 to 1, Americans believe that the nation is headed in the wrong direction, but similarly big majorities express satisfaction with their personal situations and optimism over their prospects.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which has surveyed 1,000 adults almost every day for more than two years, shows that even in the midst of high unemployment and bitter political turmoil, people are pleased with their private progress. From 2008 through 2009, participants' "life evaluations" of their current situation and future expectations rose by more than 5 percentage points. Without exception, every racial group, income level and age cohort showed brightening attitudes, with particularly big improvements among blacks, young adults (18-29) and people of modest means ($24,000 to $48,000 in annual income).

In other words, the endlessly discussed desire for "change" always applied to Washington, or Wall Street, or other far-away forces, but rarely to the daily lives and intimate arrangements of ordinary Americans. We seek change for institutions or for others, but not necessarily for ourselves. We remain overwhelmingly pleased with our jobs, families and neighborhoods, and we expect the best for our children. Big majorities — more than 60% — predict that today's young people will enjoy even better lives than their parents.

This contradiction in public attitudes — with private satisfaction persistently co-existing with grim assumptions about the nation at large — produced the core miscalculation by the White House. President Obama might have pleased the public by transforming some of the big-picture problems so frequently decried in the news media, such as the bitter polarization in Washington, or America's tarnished image in the international community. But he has made little visible progress in altering these distant realities while frightening much of the public about potential change of a far more intimate sort: involving the health care arrangements or tax-and-debt burdens on every American.

The biggest obstacle to public acceptance of the Democrats' plans to uproot and restructure the health care system involved the fact that most people felt pleased with their own medical care and insurance plans. As many as 85% of insured Americans say they like and value their current policies. As long as "ObamaCare" amounted to altering reality for someone else — providing for the uninsured, for instance — it drew strong support. When, however, the public came to suspect that the promised reform would change their own insurance situation, likely raising costs and limiting available treatment, opinion turned decisively against the plan.

Republicans may be the immediate beneficiaries of the Democrats' clumsy misinterpretation of the supposed mandate for change, but they run a very real risk of making similar mistakes. Polls show disillusionment and distrust regarding the Obama agenda, but that hardly signals an impassioned appetite for a conservative counterrevolution. If the GOP pledges massive, wrenching, systemic change — cutting back, for instance, on cherished, widely popular government programs on which millions of Americans depend — it will meet the same resistance and skepticism that confronts Obama and his liberal colleagues.

In other words, the people would welcome a concerted effort to "clean up the mess in Washington," but they don't want Washington cleaning up the mess in their private lives because they don't consider their personal status a mess.

Yes, the Democrats miscalculated by underestimating the deeply conservative nature of the American people, but the Republicans may yet miscalculate themselves by interpreting that conservatism as ideological rather than temperamental. The public wants pragmatic, commonsense, problem-solving leadership more than purist dogmatism of the right or the left. Voters don't yearn for stirring 10-point programs, or radical readjustments of governmental institutions, or definitive demonization and defeat of opponents.

We're conservative in a deeper sense —liking the lives we've built for ourselves and wanting to conserve them from unwelcome interference by overreaching change agents or ideologues. The party that connects with these wholesome, optimistic, emphatically practical instincts most effectively (and respectfully) will not only make big gains in November, but also may soon begin to build the durable governing majority that has been missing in our politics for nearly 30 years.



Apollo astronauts dismay at axing of Nasa mission to return mankind to the Moon

Former Apollo astronauts have expressed dismay at President Barack Obama's decision to cancel the Nasa programme that was intended to return mankind to the Moon. Eugene Cernan, the last man to set foot on the Moon, and Jim Lovell, commander of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission said they were disappointed by the decision to cancel Nasa's Constellation Moon programme. Mr Lovell warned the decision would have "catastrophic consequences" for US space exploration.

The pair spoke to the BBC at a private event held at the Royal Soceity in London on Friday evening. They were joined by the first man on the moon Neil Armstrong. Mr Lovell said: "Personally I think it will have catastrophic consequences in our ability to explore space and the spin-offs we get from space technology. "They haven't thought through the consequences."

Mr Cernan, who was the last astronaut to return to the Apollo 17 lunar module in 1972 making him the last man to set foot on the Moon, added:"I'm quite disappointed that I'm still the last man on the Moon. "I thought we'd have gone back long before now." "I think America has a responsibility to maintain its leadership in technology and its moral leadership... to seek knowledge. Curiosity's the essence of human existence."

Mr Obama cancelled Nasa's Constellation programme, which was intended to build new rockets and a lander to put astronauts back on the lunar surface by 2020, after stating it was costing too much and was behind schedule. The programme had been approved by former President George W Bush and was expected to provide a stepping stone towards sending humans to Mars for the first time.

Constellation has come under intense criticism as a drain on Nasa's resources and attempts to design a new rocket system that would replace the aging Space Shuttle have been beset with problems. Nasa insists it still intends to send humans back to the Moon but the cancellation of the programme will set back a lunar mission by decades.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


13 March, 2010

Denying the Truth at all Costs

Politics and policy has become surreal. Webster's defines the term as "bizarre or dreamlike". No word better describes the current state of affairs. For yet another example of the "dreamlike" suspension of reality that is everyday Washington, D.C. consider the recent announcement from union-toady, Congressman George Miller. Miller is proposing to spend $100 billion on a bailout of local governments. That is $100 billion we will have to get from China or the Federal Reserve's printing press to allow local governments to pretend a little while longer that they can act like spoiled children without consequence.

The Miller proposal would funnel the massive sum of borrowed money to local governments so they can "save or create" jobs. Boil it all down and the Miller scam is exposed as a temporary fix for the junkies who are attempting to avoid withdrawal at all costs. But cold-turkey withdrawal is exactly what they and America need.

The facts are well known. Government at all levels has grown faster than any other segment of the economy. Government, also, pays far more than corresponding workers in the private sector and has lavish benefit packages unmatched by any private worker. As the Cato Institute detailed in their January, 2010 Tax & Budget Bulletin # 59, the compensation scales and benefits of government are simply unsustainable. They cannot continue, there must be an adjustment.

But blocking that "adjustment" is the primary goal of labor unions. And whatever Big Labor wants, George Miller will try to deliver. So, the $100 billion bailout is meant for one thing and one thing only; paying off the unions and avoiding for even a little while the inevitable downsizing of government. Since the largest expenditure any government makes is on personnel, that downsizing means one thing – firing tens of thousands of unionized public employees.

Think for a second what Miller and his cronies are asking of American families, taxpayers and businesses. They want us to go deeper into debt, to the tune of another $100 billion, to pay employees we don't need to do things that are of marginal value. We are eating our seed corn. This money will not be spent on things that will allow future growth and production or future prosperity. It is to be squandered on consumption. Like the raging alcoholic, full of bravado, we are maxing out the American credit card to buy lunch for everyone in the barroom.

The situation we confront is basic. We all know the nature of the choice. All of us were taught this choice as small children. We should all remember the story of the grasshopper and the ant. The grasshopper frittered away the summer, eating and having a great time. The ant, on the other hand, worked and saved and did without, so that he would have provisions for the winter. When winter arrived, the ant is secure and prepared while the grasshopper froze, starving from lack of food.

George Miller and his union masters are the grasshoppers of our time. They eat and drink and live in a dreamlike state where the bill never comes due. The only problem, of course, is that they do have a plan. They plan to stick all of us with the bill for their reckless behavior.

Its time we ants took matters into our own hands. The credit card needs to be cut into pieces. Local governments, as well as states and the Federal behemoth, need to face the facts. They have to live within the means of the people that fund them. The insane, surreal politics of spending and debt must come to a stop.

Any member of Congress, regardless of party, who opposes the Miller scheme should be praised and supported. Any local government that does the right thing and cuts its functions and personnel needs backing. Conversely, those who embrace the bizarre world of George Miller need to be shown the door. They are simply too sick to be in a position of authority.



The deadline kid

The White House fondness for deadlines is once again playing havoc with President Obama's agenda, this time on health care. "If you don't set a deadline in this town, nothing happens," Obama said last year, just before Congress missed an earlier deadline to pass health care reform. The administration is pressuring House members to pass a Senate version of health reform by March 18, when the president departs on an overseas trip.

But the many moving parts of Congress are balking at the administration's timetable -- and have learned from several previous forays that missing them carry virtually no consequences. "Any talk of deadlines is an absolute waste of time," said Sen. Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat and chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. Obama last year admonished Congress to pass health care reform by August, and vowed to sign a reform bill in 2009. The Senate finally passed one in late December. Lawmakers also missed a 2009 deadline from the White House to pass an energy bill, and a financial regulatory bill.

But ignoring White House deadlines is not restricted to Congress. Tehran is currently ignoring a deadline from the Obama administration and the United Nations to come clean about its nuclear program. They were given until the end of the year -- 2009.

Obama also has missed his own deadlines -- notably, one contained in an executive order closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay by the end of his first year in office. The prison remains open and under review.

Some deadlines remain to be seen. Obama set a deadline of July 2011 to begin pulling troops from Afghanistan. But that deadline has some built-in wiggle room -- he never said when he would finish. Some deadlines are looming:

"Let me say this as plainly as I can: By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end," Obama told Marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina last year. Soon after he announced the Iraq deadline, however, the White House reportedly began considering some exceptions.

Over the course of the year, deadlines have become for Obama what benchmarks were to the previous administration -- a clear set of original objectives that frequently end up victim to chance.

The White House wants the House to pass the bill before Obama leaves town, to give the Senate time to work on the measure before both chambers leave on a two-week break March 27.

The risk to Obama in repeatedly setting and missing deadlines can already be measured in the offhand dismissal lawmakers in his own party greeted the latest edict. And also in the fact that if Congress planned to miss the administration's deadline, the White House was among the last to know. "The information I gave out last week was based on conversations with staff that I've had here in the building, and I've been given nothing that would change that advice that I was given last week," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said of the March 18 deadline.



Millennials will be end of the road for Progressives

Imagine watching as the government robs your parents of their retirement security, denies them access to decent health care, and compromises the independence that is supposed to mark their Golden Years. That’s not a scene likely to generate support for those inflicting such agonies on the people who gave you life, especially when the perpetrators also hand you the bill. Thus will the progressive vision for America end with the Millennials.

Conventional wisdom sees Social Security and Medicare going bust just as massive numbers of the Baby Boomer generation begin applying for benefits. Political upheaval will surely ensue as Boomers experience the destitution that follows hard after collapse of these two landmark entitlements.

But look beyond the Boomers to their kids – the Millennials, 60 million strong and the first “grown-up digital” generation, (see Don Tapscott’s book by that name).

This coming entitlement crisis will engulf Boomers just as Millennials enter the most fecund years of family life and career. But instead of enjoying such rewarding endeavours, they will face the hardships and heart breaks that will come with being what The Washington Post’s Robert Samuelson earlier this week called “the Chump Generation:” Samuelson’s label, however, doesn’t begin to do justice to what lies ahead for Millennials, thanks to their government:

* Their federal taxes will hit unprecedented levels as Washington props up Social Security, Medicare and other federal entitlement programs. So will state and local taxes, thanks to similarly generous pensions for teachers, cops, firemen, and bureaucrats.

* Good health care will be harder to get for middle class Millennials and their kids, thanks to government rationing of medical services.

* With a no-growth, high-tax, “green economy,” entrepreneurial opportunities will be scarce, new jobs rare, and standards of living falling for the first time in American history. Most things will cost more, everyday tasks like getting to work and grocery shopping will be more tedious, and the general quality of life will be noticeably less pleasant.

In the process, millions of Millennials will have to take in their aging Boomer parents or otherwise care for them, and do so with fewer personal resources and under far greater economic pressures than those faced by perhaps any previous American generation since before the Great Depression.

Samuelson said Millennials were notably strong Obama supporters in 2008, but he wondered if being the Chump Generation will “dim their enthusiasm for government.” I see something far more serious than merely less enthusiasm for activist government, for two reasons.

First, the dominant values of Millennials are inimical to centralizing, top-down, command-and-control government at the heart of the Progressive vision. Millennials grew up in a decentralized digital world of endless choices, limitless opportunity, and transparency in everything.

Think about that: Where Obama and the progressives dispatch reams of bureaucratic edicts, legions of bureaucrats, and tons of tax dollars to solve a problem, Millennials reach for their laptops, Internet creativity, and collaboration with each other. They don’t need officious, over-paid GS-14s in Washington to tell them what to do. And they know it.

Second, it will be crystal clear who caused the entitlement crisis. Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are seeing to that now in their mad rush to pass Obamacare, even if means doing so over unanimous Republican opposition.

So, trust me, when the entitlement crisis hits home in full force during the next two decades, the Millennials will be hit hard and they will know exactly who to hold responsible. There will be hell to pay, with no grace period, no more bailouts and no more patience for politicians peddling lies about what government will do for them.



Obama Justice Department Shut Down Federal ACORN Investigation

If you want to know the sordid details behind ACORN’s corrupt activities and the Obama administration’s disinterest in holding the organization accountable, I have good news for you. Judicial Watch recently obtained a large batch documents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) detailing investigations into ACORN corruption.

This is a huge “get” for Judicial Watch. The documents include internal FBI memoranda, signed affidavits, subpoenas, fraudulent voter registration cards, and publications describing ACORN’s policies and practices. The documents also include details regarding numerous allegations of corruption extending beyond voter registration fraud, to include attempts by ACORN employees to coerce workers to participate in campaign activities on behalf of Democratic candidates.

But here’s what I find most interesting of all: The documents provide the details surrounding the Obama administration’s terrible decision to shut down a criminal investigation into two voter registration fraud complaints in March 2009 without filing criminal charges. I’m specifically referring to separate complaints filed in October 2008 by Lucy Corelli and Joseph Borges, Republican Registrars of Voters in Stamford and Bridgeport, Connecticut, respectively, during the 2008 election season.

According to Corelli, on August 1, 2008, her office received 1,200 ACORN voter registration cards from the Secretary of State’s office. Over 300 of these cards were rejected because of “duplicates, underage, illegible and invalid addresses,” which “put a tremendous strain on our office staff and caused endless work hours at taxpayers’ expense.” Corelli claimed the total cost of the extra work caused by ACORN corruption was $20,000.

Likewise, Borges contended that: “The organization ACORN during the summer of 2008 conducted a registration drive which has produced over 100 rejections due to incomplete forms and individuals who are not citizens…” Among the examples cited by Borges was a seven-year old child, who was registered to vote by ACORN through the use of a forged signature and a fake birth certificate claiming she was 27-years old.

The FBI and Department of Justice opened an investigation. However, the Obama Justice Department, while noting that ACORN had engaged in “questionable hiring and training practices,” closed down the investigation in March 2009, claiming ACORN broke no laws....

More here


Democrats: Abortion Is Good, Because Kids Are Costly

Bart Stupak just had a revelation. And it’s a disturbing one.

Sitting in an airport, on his way home to Michigan, Rep. Bart Stupak, a pro-life Democrat, is chagrined. “They’re ignoring me,” he says, in a phone interview with National Review Online. “That’s their strategy now. The House Democratic leaders think they have the votes to pass the Senate’s health-care bill without us. At this point, there is no doubt that they’ve been able to peel off one or two of my twelve. And even if they don’t have the votes, it’s been made clear to us that they won’t insert our language on the abortion issue.”…

What are Democratic leaders saying? “If you pass the Stupak amendment, more children will be born, and therefore it will cost us millions more. That’s one of the arguments I’ve been hearing,” Stupak says. “Money is their hang-up. Is this how we now value life in America? If money is the issue — come on, we can find room in the budget. This is life we’re talking about.”

We knew this. For all their talk of pro-choice, the far left is actually pro-abortion. It’s about an agenda to them, not about life. And remember, not too long ago Senator Feinstein said it was “morally correct” to fund abortion. This just exposes the face underneath the mask a bit more. Now, it isn’t just about funding abortion, but using it as a cost-saving tool. Bart Stupak is realizing that now — in a moment of division with his party, he had some clarity. He is a Democrat insider and he sees this chilling reality in his own Caucus.



My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


12 March, 2010


Response times on the site hosting "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH" have become so slow as to render the blog almost inaccessible.

I have therefore moved the blog back to its original home on blogspot. Go HERE to access all the recent postings.

I moved it off blogspot at a time when Google (the owner of blogspot) was having a severe bout of irrationality but they seem to have settled down since then so I am hoping that the move back can be permanent.


Why Democrats Don't Care about $9.7 Trillion Debt

As reported by The Washington Post, "President Obama's proposed budget would add more than $9.7 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, congressional budget analysts said Friday." CNN adds, "Of that amount, an estimated $5.6 trillion will be in interest alone."

The Post continues: "The CBO (Congressional Budget Office) and the White House (are) ... both predicting a deficit of about $1.5 trillion this year -- a post-World War II record at 10.3 percent of the overall economy. But the CBO is considerably less optimistic about future years, predicting that deficits would never fall below 4 percent of the economy under Obama's policies and would begin to grow rapidly after 2015. "Deficits of that magnitude would force the Treasury to continue borrowing at prodigious rates, sending the national debt soaring to 90 percent of the economy by 2020, the CBO said."

CNN adds that "By 2020 the (CBO) estimates debt held by the public would reach $20.3 trillion, or 90 percent of GDP. That's up from 53 percent of GDP in 2009."

I suspect that most Americans, if asked whether these numbers trouble the Democratic leadership and President Obama, would answer in the affirmative. They would be wrong.

They would be wrong not because the Democratic Party or the president are economically illiterate or bad individuals, but because the Democratic Party and the president are leftists. And most Americans, including most Democrats, do not understand the left. They may understand liberalism; but President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and most Democratic representatives and senators are not liberals; they are leftists. And most Americans do not understand the difference between liberal and left. They do not realize, for example, that there is no major difference between the American Democratic Party and the leftist social democratic parties of Western Europe. They do not know that from Karl Marx to Obama, the left (as opposed to liberals) has never created wealth because it has never been interested in creating wealth; it is interested in redistributing wealth.

Therefore, unprecedented and unsustainable debt, a debt that will negatively affect most Americans' quality of life, renders the dollar increasingly undesirable, and undermines America's prestige and power in the world -- these developments do not particularly disturb the left. They may trouble the president, the Democratic Party, and others on the left on some political level, but that pales in comparison to what the left really wants: a huge government overseeing a giant welfare state and a country with far fewer rich Americans.

Achieving those goals is far more important than preventing a decline in the American quality of life. The further left one goes, the more contempt one has for the present quality of American life in any event. The left regularly mocks many of the symbols of that life -- from the three-bedroom suburban house surrounded by a white picket fence to owning an SUV (or almost any car) because Americans should be traveling on public buses, trains and bicycles.

As for the dollar, I can bear personal testimony to the decline of the dollar's prestige. I am writing this column in Morocco. In Casablanca, my wife and I and another couple hired a Moroccan driver for the day. And when it came time to pay, the man refused to accept dollars; he wanted to be paid in either Euros or Moroccan dirhams. Yes, dirhams rather than dollars. But the demise of the dollar as the world's currency disturbs the left as much as does America's not getting a gold medal in curling at the Winter Olympics.

And as for America wielding less power in the world, that is a positive development for the American left. It is the world community as embodied in the United Nations that should wield power throughout the world, not an "overstretched," "imperialist" and "militarist" United States.

I used to believe that left and right have similar goals for America, that they just differed in the means they wanted used to get there. I was mistaken. The left has a very different vision of America than those who hold the founding values of America, most especially individualism and small government. And if the price of a once in a lifetime possibility of getting to a giant welfare state dominated by the left is America's steep financial decline, that is a price fully worth paying.



The Roadmap Warrior

Paul Ryan's Roadmap for America's Future would drastically overhaul the American welfare state in a free-market direction. The Congressional Budget Office says it would solve the entitlements crisis through a series of changes to Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. The Roadmap also includes a fundamental tax reform -- one that Ryan says, and the CBO assumes, would bring in revenues equivalent to the long-term historical average of 19-percent of GDP. Two new studies dispute that figure, however. I talked to Ryan this evening to get his response.

"We feel good about our numbers," Ryan told me. "You can tweak a plan to get it toward a historic trend." He's referring to a Brookings Institution's Tax Policy Center study that says the Roadmap would fall short of its 19-percent goal over the next 10 years, bringing in revenues of somewhere between 16.6 percent and 16.8 percent of GDP. In a statement last night, Ryan said that "the purpose of the Roadmap is to get spending in line with revenue -- not the other way around." He reiterated that argument in his conversation with me today. "The point is the spending."

Philip Klein made some salient observations in a post earlier today:
There's good reason to believe, based on economic theory and empirical experience, that at least some portion of that "lost" revenue would be recouped by higher GDP. But the overaching point is that the Ryan plan, as scored by the CBO, shows that there's a way to balance the long-term budget by keeping taxes at historical levels rather than raising them to levels that would cripple the economy. If critics acknowledge that Ryan's reforms to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the health care system can make our nation solvent as long as we maintain historical levels of tax revenue, and the only argument left is over how to maintain historical levels of taxation, then I'd say that's a major victory for Ryan.
The other charge critics make is that Ryan's tax changes would hurt the poor. That's the theme of a second report by the liberal Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ), which concludes with this: "It's difficult to design a tax plan that will lose $2 trillion over a decade even while requiring 90 percent of taxpayers to pay more. But Congressman Ryan has met that daunting challenge." It's impossible not to notice the snide tone. But sarcasm isn't always persuasive.

The $2 trillion figure is a reference to the Bush tax cuts, which Ryan's plan would make permanent for everyone. (One should note that by this measure, the Obama tax plan will also "lose" some revenue, since the president only wants the tax cuts to expire for upper-brackets.) But Ryan also cuts spending over time. Obama does not.

As for "requiring 90 percent of taxpayers to pay more," that's a swipe at Ryan's zeroing out the stimulus and replacing the corporate income tax with a business consumption tax. You see, Ryan says the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit in Obama's stimulus bill is spending, not tax cutting. He'd eliminate it. And CTJ counts a reduction in that spending as a tax hike.

The business consumption tax would be passed on to the consumer, making it regressive. But Ryan notes that Americans indirectly feel the consequences of the above-average U.S. corporate tax rate today, through lost wages and higher prices. And these effects are regressive, too. Unlike the current situation, Ryan goes on, the business consumption tax "is cleaner, simpler, and it's on paper." It would also make American exports more competitive than they are today. "I believe it's a better deal," he says. Most important: "It's more uniform. You can't play social engineering."

The dynamic effects of Ryan's reforms are impossible to predict. Over time, government would shrink, investment would expand, and America's credit rating would improve. America would become a haven for foreign capital. Her citizens would have more individual choice and, yes, more individual responsibility. "Policies such as these," Irving Kristol wrote decades ago in his essay "The Republican Future," "have the obvious advantage of reconciling the purposes of the welfare state with the maximum degree of individual independence and the least bureaucratic coercion." No wonder Paul Ryan is smack in the middle of liberal sights.



Low-tax Texas beats big-government California

"Stop messing with Texas!" That was the message Gov. Rick Perry bellowed on election night as he celebrated his victory over Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Republican primary for governor. In his reference to Texas' anti-littering slogan, Perry was making a point applicable to national as well as Texas politics and addressed to Democratic politicians as well as Republicans.

His point was that the big-government policies of the Obama administration and Democratic congressional leaders are resented and fiercely opposed not just because of their dire fiscal effects but also as an intrusion on voters' independence and ability to make decisions for themselves.

No one would include Perry on a list of serious presidential candidates, including himself, even in the flush of victory. But in his 10 years as governor, the longest in the state's history, Texas has been teaching some lessons to which the rest of the nation should pay heed.

They are lessons that are particularly vivid when you contrast Texas, the nation's second most populous state, with the most populous, California. Both were once Mexican territory, secured for the United States in the 1840s. Both have grown prodigiously over the past half-century. Both have populations that today are about one-third Hispanic.

But they differ vividly in public policy and in their economic progress -- or lack of it -- over the last decade. California has gone in for big government in a big way. Democrats hold big margins in the legislature largely because affluent voters in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area favor their liberal positions on cultural issues.

Those Democratic majorities have obediently done the bidding of public employee unions to the point that state government faces huge budget deficits. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's attempt to reduce the power of the Democratic-union combine with referenda was defeated in 2005 when public employee unions poured $100 million -- all originally extracted from taxpayers -- into effective TV ads.

Californians have responded by leaving the state. From 2000 to 2009, the Census Bureau estimates, there has been a domestic outflow of 1,509,000 people from California -- almost as many as the number of immigrants coming in. Population growth has not been above the national average and, for the first time in history, it appears that California will gain no House seats or electoral votes from the reapportionment following the 2010 census.

Texas is a different story. Texas has low taxes -- and no state income taxes -- and a much smaller government. Its legislature meets for only 90 days every two years, compared with California's year-round legislature. Its fiscal condition is sound. Public employee unions are weak or nonexistent.

But Texas seems to be delivering superior services. Its teachers are paid less than California's. But its test scores -- and with a demographically similar school population -- are higher. California's once fabled freeways are crumbling and crowded. Texas has built gleaming new highways in metro Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth.

In the meantime, Texas' economy has been booming. Unemployment rates have been below the national average for more than a decade, as companies small and large generate new jobs.

And Americans have been voting for Texas with their feet. From 2000 to 2009, some 848,000 people moved from other parts of the United States to Texas, about the same number as moved in from abroad. That inflow has continued in 2008-09, in which 143,000 Americans moved into Texas, more than double the number in any other state, at the same time as 98,000 were moving out of California. Texas is on the way to gain four additional House seats and electoral votes in the 2010 reapportionment.

This was not always so. In the two decades after World War II California, with its pleasant weather, was the Golden State, a promised land, for most Americans, while Texas seemed a provincial rural backwater. Many saw postwar California's expansion of universities, freeways and water systems a model for the nation. Few experts praised Texas' low-tax, low-services government.

Now it is California's ruinously expensive and increasingly incompetent government that seems dysfunctional, while Texas' approach has generated more creativity and opportunity. So it's not surprising that Texas voters preferred Perry over an opponent who has spent 16 years in Washington. What's surprising is that Democrats in Washington are still trying to impose policies like those that have ravaged California rather than those that have proved so successful in Texas.

Michael Barone, The Examiner's senior political analyst, can be contacted at mbarone@washingtonexaminer.com. His columns appear Wednesday and Sunday, and his stories and blog posts appear on ExaminerPolitics.co




Traders cut supplies of petrol to Iran: "The world’s largest oil traders have quietly stopped supplying petrol to Iran in a clear sign that the threat of sanctions and Washington’s behind-the-scenes efforts to convince companies not to sell to Tehran are paying off. However, the decision by Vitol, Glencore and Trafigura is unlikely to cut Tehran off completely from the global petrol market as traders said Iran’s long-standing suppliers were being replaced by small Dubai-based and Chinese companies. Although Iran is one of the world’s biggest oil producers, its refineries are dilapidated and it suffers from runaway petrol demand because of generous subsidies. Energy executives said Vitol, Glencore and Trafigura, which have hitherto sold Iran half of its petrol imports of 130,000 barrels a day, stopped supplying Tehran because of mounting political risk. “The political and public relations problems more than outweigh the business rewards,” said one executive."

Five lies about the American economy: "The ongoing recession has raised a troubling question for otherwise resurgent Keynesian economists: How can the American economy keep getting worse under the intensive care of an interventionist economic team almost universally praised for its brilliance? The answer may be that the Obama administration is dealing with a fictional economy, one that bears little resemblance to the economy the rest of us inhabit. And when the difference between fact and fiction becomes too apparent, they just make stuff up. Herewith, five big lies the administration loves to tell and the mainstream media (with some notable exceptions) love to repeat …”

Chris Matthews claims Israel hates Obama because he is black?: "Perhaps the first sign was when the administration agreed to bring along MSNBC's "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, whose penchant for gaffery rivals Biden's. The media guest of honor used his Monday programming to suggest, along with another reporter, that Israelis dislike President Obama because they're racist. "Who's more popular over here? Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden. Put them in order," Matthews asked New York Times reporter Ethan Bronner Monday on air. When Bronner put Obama at the bottom, Matthews inquired: "Okay, that tells you a lot. So tell me why the president of the United States is so far at the bottom? Is it his middle name? Hussein?" Bronner said "prejudice" about Obama's Islamic background was a factor, and then Matthews took it a step further, saying, "Yeah, because they see him as a black man."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


11 March, 2010

An interesting email from Jay Watts (lots_a_watts@yahoo.com) about some strange documents

Please read the following disclaimer: "This book is a product of it's time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today. Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work."

Now this sounds like you are getting ready to read something fairly bad, and pretty racy - does it not? This is printed on the copyright page of a pamphlet I just received from Amazon.com.

The Title - Are You Ready!

"The Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, and The Articles of Confederacy"

I Kid You Not!

This is a link to the pamphlet at Amazon.com so you may see the actual pamphlet and look inside to see the copyright page for yourself. (Click "copyright" at the side)

You should know that there is not one line of commentary, definitions of meaning or anything thing else in this pamphlet. Just the full text of the Documents responsible for the creation of the Greatest Country on this Planet. Now what in these documents could possibly warrant a disclaimer like what I included above, and how in the world does it not fit the values of today? I have read these documents many times in my life and I can tell you there is not one item or statement that comes remotely close. This is purely "Political Correctness" run-amok.

People we must stand up against this stuff. Please People: Other than the Bible, these are the most Sacred Documents of our lands. Treatment of this kind, of these documents Must Not be Allowed.


The Clarity of False Choices

"There are those who claim we have to choose between paying down our deficits…and investing in job creation and economic growth," President Obama said in December. "This is a false choice." During the same speech, he asked his audience to "let me just be clear" that, having racked up the biggest budget deficits ever, he is embracing fiscal responsibility, as reflected in his vow that "health insurance reform" will not increase the deficit "by one dime."

For connoisseurs of Obama-speak, the address featured a trifecta, combining three of his favorite rhetorical tropes: the vague reference to "those who" question his agenda, the "false choice" they use to deceive the public, and the determination to "be clear" and forthright, in contrast with those dishonest naysayers. These devices are useful as signals that the president is about to mislead us.

Obama says his opponents wrongly insist that we choose between "paying down our deficits" and "investing in job creation and economic growth." But that is not the way his real critics, as opposed to the imaginary, nameless ones who appear in his speeches, would frame the issue.

The real critics question the premise that the spending Obama supports, which he says ultimately will boost tax revenues and curtail outlays for public assistance programs, should be considered an investment at all—and, if so, whether it is a better use of this money than the market would have found. Copying his predecessor by throwing more money at schools, for example, is a dubious strategy for spurring economic growth, or even educational growth, since there is no clear relationship between spending and student achievement.

Likewise, Obama's promise that health insurance subsidies will not expand the deficit may be "clear," but it's not realistic, since it's based on accounting tricks and wishful thinking. Legislators avoided counting a $240 billion Medicare "fix" by putting it in a separate bill and assumed reimbursement cuts that probably will never materialize.

Here are some other things Obama has asked us to let him be clear about: "Earmarks have given legislators the opportunity to direct federal money to worthy projects"; the U.S. government "has no interest in running GM"; Medicare cuts will be made "in a way that protects our senior citizens" from changes in benefits or costs; and a "public option" for health care, which would invite businesses to offload their medical costs onto taxpayers and could drive private insurers from the market, "would not impact those of you who already have insurance." From now on, when you hear Obama speak, replace "let me be clear" with "let me lie to you" and see if it makes more sense.

Speaking of making sense, some of the "false choices" Obama has identified in the last year are more puzzling than misleading. "I reject the false choice between securing this nation and wasting billions of taxpayer dollars," he declared in March. So according to Obama, we can secure this nation and waste billions of taxpayer dollars. Actually, that sounds about right.

Obama's depiction of his critics is further removed from reality. In the health care debate, he says, "there are those who simply don't believe Washington can bring about this change"; "there are those who will say that we do not go far enough"; "there are those who would have us try what has already failed, who would defend the status quo"; "there are those who will oppose reform no matter what"; and "there are those who want to seek political advantage."

What about those who do not like the status quo but have a different vision of reform, not because they want to go farther than Obama does but because they want to go in a different direction, toward more choice and less government involvement? In Obama's world they do not exist. Instead we have his bold yet achievable plan, pitted against socialist utopianism and blind partisan intransigence. Let me be clear: This is a false choice.



Radicalizing Civil Rights

In his State of the Union address, President Obama mentioned the protections enshrined in the Constitution and said, “No matter who you are or what you look like, if you abide by the law, you should be protected by it.” Obama followed this lofty rhetoric with a claim that his Justice Department “has a Civil Rights Division that is once again prosecuting civil-rights violations and employment discrimination.”

As anyone familiar with the Division’s workings can tell you, this assertion is patently false. Obama’s Civil Rights Division will prosecute cases only depending on “what you look like.” If you are white and you are discriminated against in your job, at the polls, or in seeking equal access to federally funded institutions, the Division won’t lift a finger to make sure you’re “protected.”

Over the last year, I have written many articles about the politicization and outright misconduct of the Civil Rights Division under the Obama administration. I have pointed out the Division’s politically motivated dismissal of a voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party, its highly dubious objection to the state of Georgia’s verifying the citizenship of newly registered voters, and its almost comedic effort to prevent the small town of Kinston, N.C., from changing its partisan town-council elections to nonpartisan because it might hurt Democratic candidates.

If you want to understand how the Civil Rights Division is being run in the Obama administration, imagine for just a moment what would happen if the most radical, ideologically left-wing advocacy organizations in Washington took control of it. Because that’s exactly what happened.

Much more HERE


ACLU Prints Lies in the Times

The ACLU is trying to push President Obama to maintain the decision that he (not Attorney General Holder) made to try the 9/11 defendants in ordinary criminal court in New York City. Its method is a full-page ad printed in the New York Times. The ad contains several major statements which can best be described as deliberate lies.

Some of the facts for this article, but none of the legal conclusions, come from an ad that the ACLU published in the New York Times on 7 March, 2010. The point of the ad is that President Obama is morphing into President Bush because he is reconsidering Attorney General Holder's alleged decision to try the KSM 9/11 planners, in an ordinary criminal court, in New York City.

The ad says that Obama is "considering reversing his attorney general's decision." The ACLU does not explain what authority any Attorney General has over the American military. He has none. This is Obama's decision which he is now thinking of reversing.

The ad says that Obama can "keep us safe without violating the Constitution." The ACLU has apparently not read the leading Supreme Court decision on trials for terrorists seeking to blow up buildings and kill Americans. The case was Ex Parte Quirin, 1942, concerning eight German saboteurs who sneaked into the US from two German submarines. All eight were convicted in a military tribunal including the one who said he was American since he was born in Chicago. The Court held, unanimously, that this process was constitutional.

The ACLU is chock full of lawyers. Presumably, most of them can read. One must conclude therefore that the ACLU is deliberately lying to the American people by publishing this ad which ignores the operative law.

The ad continues that Obama should "keep his promise to restore our Constitution and due process." This statement contains another lie. As the Supreme Court clearly explains in the Quirin case, due process concerning the Law of War is met by a military tribunals which convicted and executed Colonel Nathan Hale (the American spy) and Major John Andre (the British spy). This article has labeled those two men who were convicted and executed as illegal combatants, for the benefit of the ACLU whose ignorance apparently extends to the history of the American Revolution.



Who Poses the Greater Threat?

Bill Gates is the world’s richest person, but what kind of power does he have over you? Can he force your kid to go to a school you do not want him to attend? Can he deny you the right to braid hair in your home for a living? It turns out that a local politician, who might deny us the right to earn a living and dictates which school our kid attends, has far greater power over our lives than any rich person. Rich people can gain power over us, but to do so, they must get permission from our elected representatives at the federal, state or local levels. For example, I might wish to purchase sugar from a Caribbean producer, but America’s sugar lobby pays congressmen hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to impose sugar import tariffs and quotas, forcing me and every other American to purchase their more expensive sugar.

Politicians love pitting us against the rich. All by themselves, the rich have absolutely no power over us. To rip us off, they need the might of Congress to rig the economic game. It’s a slick political sleight-of-hand where politicians and their allies amongst the intellectuals, talking heads and the news media get us caught up in the politics of envy as part of their agenda for greater control over our lives.

The sugar lobby is just one example among thousands. Just ask yourself: Who were the major recipients of the billions of taxpayer bailout dollars, the so-called Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)? The top recipients of TARP handouts included companies such as Citibank, AIG, Goldman Sachs and General Motors. Their top management are paid tens of millions dollars to run companies that were on the verge of bankruptcy, were it not for billions of dollars in taxpayer money. Politicians preach the politics of envy whilst reaching into the ordinary man’s pockets, through the IRS, and handing it over to their favorite rich people and others who make large contributions to their election efforts.

The bottom line is that it is politicians first and their supporters amongst intellectuals who pose the greatest threat to liberty.

Dr. Thomas Sowell amply demonstrates this in his brand-new book, “Intellectuals and Society,” in which he points out that: “Scarcely a mass-murdering dictator of the twentieth century was without his intellectual supporters, not simply in his own country, but also in foreign democracies … Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Hitler all had their admirers, defenders and apologists among the intelligentsia in Western democratic nations, despite the fact that these dictators each ended up killing people of their own country on a scale unprecedented even by despotic regimes that preceded them.”

While American politicians and intellectuals have not reached the depths of tyrants such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Hitler, they share a common vision. Tyrants denounce free markets and voluntary exchange. They are the chief supporters of reduced private property rights, reduced rights to profits, and they are anti-competition and pro-monopoly. They are pro-control and coercion, by the state. These Americans who run Washington, and their intellectual supporters, believe they have superior wisdom and greater intelligence than the masses. They believe they have been ordained to forcibly impose that wisdom on the rest of us. Like any other tyrant, they have what they consider good reasons for restricting the freedom of others. A tyrant’s primary agenda calls for the elimination or attenuation of the market. Why? Markets imply voluntary exchange and tyrants do not trust that people behaving voluntarily will do what the tyrant thinks they should do. Therefore, they seek to replace the market with economic planning and regulation, which is little more than the forcible superseding of other people’s plans by the powerful elite.

We Americans have forgotten founder Thomas Paine’s warning that “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”



BrookesNews Update

The state of the US economy is worse than it looks : Many are looking to the expansion of factory production and the rise in GDP as evidence of economic recovery, proving once again how ignorant of economic history the great majority of pundits and journalists really are.
Why capital gains taxes undermine economic growth : The Democrats are going to raise capital gains taxes significantly because Obama says that would be only fair. But what is fair about attacking economic growth, which amounts to an attack on future living standards?
Why 'saving' energy raises the demand for more energy : We have seemingly reached the absurd situation that someone who has spent four years at university studying economics can leave with a first class honours without a grasp of sound economic reasoning
There is no business cycle : The current economic situation has got members of the commentariat nattering about Australia's business cycle, Reserve policies, government borrowing, consumer spending, etc. Far be it from me to contradict our economic Solons but there is no business cycle
Cuban dissident murdered by Castro's thugs: On February 23 black human rights activist Orlando Zapata-Tamayo died after an 83-day hunger strike and a series of savage beatings by Castro's thugs. There were no headlines in the Western press nor were there any protests. Hollywood's Castro lovers like Oliver Stone and Chevy Chase and Sean Penn remained silent. As is always the case with the left, it is never the crime that matters but who commits it
Is Obama trying to bankrupt America? : Is Obama trying to bankrupt America? One short year ago, asking this this question would have guaranteed my inclusion among the ranks of right-wing nuts and/or conspiracy theorists. Today, it is a serious question being asked by a number of commentators
Scolding and the Biblical Law : Even committed Zionists have become indifferent and cynical due to the self-destructive policies and inaction of successive Israel governments. There is an atmosphere of despair among many staunch Zionists and supporters of the state of Israel

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


10 March, 2010

Some stray thoughts on Vorwärts! Vorwärts! (The song of the Hitler Youth)

While I have the work I did on the subject a couple of days ago still in mind: I see that British critics of the HJ (Hitler Jugend; Hitler Youth) during the war described it as "education for death". And there have been academic articles that identify Fascism/Nazism as a death cult too. And if you look at the last line of the first verse of Vorwärts! Vorwärts! (below) you can see why. HJ members were encouraged to give up their lives for Hitler if need be.

But is it really fair to condemn that? Consider two other well-known statements: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). Is Christianity a death cult? Early Christians certain did often lay down their lives for their faith.

And what about: "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country"? (Originally said by Pericles and recycled by JFK in his first inaugural). Was JFK inaugurating a death cult?

Neither quote is an exact analogue of what the HJ asked of its members but throughout history it has normally been seen as heroism to give up one's life for others and I personally see the sadly misled young members of the HJ as walking in that tradition. The only pity is that their dedication was so badly abused.

They in fact thought that they were fighting for Freiheit und Brot (freedom and bread). We forget in our age of affluence that an abundance of food for all is a quite recent achievement. Hunger was just around the corner for most people throughout history. And Hitler did promise to banish that danger via his policy of Lebensraum. And hunger is an urgent need so fighting for "bread" was a much more important goal in the time of the HJ than it is today. Hence its prominence in their song.

But perhaps the most interesting bit in Vorwärts! Vorwärts! is that the HJ also thought they were fighting for "freedom". Freedom from what? Basically, freedom from Jewish oppressors, I think. It was a fantasy of course but one that was widely believed at the time. The prominence of Jews in all walks of life in prewar Germany certainly helped foster that illusion.

And the flag of the HJ heralded "the new time". I can remember the days in the 50's, 60s and even 70s when "new" was a Leftist catchword. The "new" theatre or the "new" school would be understood by politically aware people as being on the far Left. So, as far Leftists, the Nazis presented themselves that way too. That tyranny and collectivism are as old as the hills was somehow ignored. But for a long time people did think -- or hope -- that Fascism and Communism were something new, improved and positive. I think it was the obviously sclerotic state of the old Soviet union that eventually caused the Left to abandon their propaganda about being "new". Though I suppose that "hopey change" is just a variation on it.
Uns're Fahne flattert uns voran. Our flag flutters before us
In die Zukunft ziehen wir Mann für Mann We trek into the future as man for man
Wir marschieren für Hitler We march for Hitler
Durch Nacht und durch Not Through night and hardship
Mit der Fahne der Jugend With the flag of youth
Für Freiheit und Brot. For freedom and bread
Uns're Fahne flattert uns voran, Our flag flutters before us
Uns're Fahne ist die neue Zeit. Our flag is the new time
Und die Fahne führt uns in die Ewigkeit! And the flag leads us into eternity
Ja die Fahne ist mehr als der Tod! Yes the flag is more to us than death

Systems of government


Iraq's new birth of freedom

RONALD REAGAN liked to say that there was no limit to what a man could accomplish if he didn't mind who gets the credit. The transformation of Iraq from a hellish tyranny into a functioning democracy will be recorded as a signal accomplishment of George W. Bush's presidency, and he probably doesn't mind in the least that the Obama administration would like to take the credit.

This week's parliamentary elections in Iraq brought 12 million voters to the polls -- a remarkable 62 percent turnout, notwithstanding a vicious wave of Election Day bombings that killed 38 people and destroyed several buildings in Baghdad.

"Iraqis are not afraid of bombs anymore," a middle-aged voter named Maliq Bedawi told a New York Times reporter as they stood amid the rubble of a Baghdad apartment building destroyed by a Katyusha rocket. If anything, the jihadists' violence succeeded only in intensifying the refusal of ordinary Iraqis to be intimidated. "Everyone went" to vote, Bedawi said. "Even people who didn't want to vote before, they went after this rocket."

Iraqis have paid a steep price for their burgeoning young democracy: Tens of thousands of lives were wiped out in the horrific insurgency that followed the ouster of Saddam Hussein. Perhaps that awful butcher's bill explains the fervor with which Iraqis have embraced democratic self-governance. In Sunday's elections, 6,200 candidates representing 86 political parties contended to fill 325 seats in parliament. (Would that our own congressional elections were so competitive.) Such democratic passion would be impressive anywhere. To see it flourish in one of the world's most dangerous and undemocratic neighborhood is downright heroic.

Of such heroism, a new Iraq is being fashioned -- the Iraq Bush foretold in an address to the National Endowment for Democracy in November 2003, when he declared that "Iraqi democracy will succeed" and predicted that "the establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution." Six years later -- six years in which Iraq was convulsed by the bloody agony of sectarian terror, and in which 4,000 US military personnel were killed -- that prophecy is coming to pass.

"Something that looks mighty like democracy is emerging in Iraq," acknowledges Newsweek in a recent issue. "And . . . it most certainly is a watershed event that could come to represent a whole new era in the history of the massively undemocratic Middle East." On the magazine's cover are the words "Victory At Last," and a photograph of Bush aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, where in May 2003 he appeared before a backdrop reading "Mission Accomplished" to proclaim that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended."

In 2006 and 2007, few Americans expected to ever see such a magazine cover. Over and over they were told that the war in Iraq was lost, that there was no military solution to the carnage there, and that invading Iraq had been the biggest mistake in US history. Bush's decision in January 2007 to change strategy and "surge" an additional 20,000 additional troops into Iraq was scathingly denounced. Such a "fantasy-based escalation of the war," wrote The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson, "could only make sense in some parallel universe where pigs fly and fish commute on bicycles." Senator John Kerry called the surge "a senseless decision." Barack Obama, gearing up to run for president, warned that doubling down in Iraq was not "going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse."

But the critics were wrong. The surge turned the war around, giving Iraq a new lease on life. Where Saddam once ruled a ghastly "republic of fear," Iraqis live today in democratic freedom and relative peace, dispelling daily the canard that democracy and Arab culture cannot co-exist.

Of course there are no permanent guarantees, and it remains to be seen whether Iraq's nascent democracy can sustain itself. For now, though, the news is very good. So good that even Vice President Joe Biden -- who a few years ago was calling for Iraq to be partitioned, and who blasted Bush's surge as "a tragic mistake" and "not a solution" -- now takes credit for Iraq's rebirth. "I am very optimistic about Iraq," Biden recently told CNN's Larry King. "I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration."

Somewhere, Ronald Reagan must be chuckling.



Obama's corrupt Justice Dept. not getting a free ride

Give credit for honorable persistence to Northern Virginia's veteran Republican congressman, Frank Wolf, and to Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith. For good reason, they refuse to let the Justice Department bury questions about a voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party.

The case involves two Black Panthers who stood outside a Philadelphia polling place in November 2008 while wearing paramilitary garb and using racial epithets, while one of them brandished a nightstick. The Obama Justice Department dropped three out of four charges in the case last May after the cases, in effect, had already been won.

At every turn, the Justice Department has stonewalled the two lawmakers and others wanting an explanation for the dismissal. Since September, the department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) supposedly has been conducting an investigation into why the charges were dropped. To outside observers, that "investigation" has seemed lethargic at best. Meanwhile, OPR chief Mary Patrice Brown reportedly is on the verge of an Obama nomination for a federal judgeship, for which she is being vetted by some of the same people who presumably would be questioned in the Black Panther probe.

OPR also came under fire two weeks ago when the department's senior career officer, David Margolis, overruled the office and criticized its shoddy work on its review of the conduct of two George W. Bush-era lawyers who wrote memos on enhanced interrogation of suspected terrorists.

In light of OPR's own apparent or potential politicization, Mr. Wolf asked the Justice Department's inspector general, Glenn A. Fine, to conduct his own inquiry into the mishandling of the Black Panther case. In early February, Mr. Fine declined, saying such an investigation is out of the scope of his responsibilities - although, he added, he had long told Congress that such questions should indeed be within his purview.

Enter Mr. Wolf again, this time joined by Mr. Smith. On March 2, they sent another letter to Mr. Fine, urging the IG to reconsider because of "the host of troubling questions about whether the Department's political appointees abused their power in this case for political purposes." They listed at least five major questions they think the IG, not OPR, can best answer, including "whether White House officials attempted for partisan political purposes to influence the [Black Panther] case [and] whether senior Department management officials and political appointees actually colluded for these purposes with White House officials to derail the [Black Panther] case or cases against minority defendants in general." They wrote that those "larger issues in this affair, whether for the pursuit of impartial justice, the pursuit of criminal justice for government officials or the credibility of the Department, lie within your jurisdiction, not OPR's."

This point is important. At some level, there needs to be some independent authority, untainted by political entanglements, who can investigate allegations of improper political entanglements. The congressmen note that Mr. Fine and OPR conducted simultaneous and complementary investigations into the firing of eight U.S. attorneys by the Bush administration when some of the same considerations applied.

One way or another, the truth will get out. It doesn't take Inspector Clouseau to figure out that if the Justice Department has the image of springing Panthers from the penalty box, it looks mighty suspicious.




Stimulus Dollars Buy Buses for Greyhound in Missouri: "I’m thinking about taking a ride on the commercial bus line soon. Why? Because, as a taxpayer, I’m paying for it. I came across this news after reading a release on the White House web site that listed the Missouri Department of Transportation as the recipient of $4.9 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (a.k.a., “stimulus”) funds for use in “construction of two facilities and purchase of two intercity vehicles.”... The MoDOT spokesperson confirmed that, in order to meet the federal mandate that 15 percent of ARRA funds provided to states be spent on intercity bus transportation, the State of Missouri will use $945,210 of federal taxpayer monies to reimburse Greyhound Bus Lines for the addition of two new buses to the company’s fleet. In other words, Greyhound is getting a federal subsidy and the Show-Me State is acting as a laundromat of sorts."

Tolerating the intolerable: "What is a democracy without fair elections? Not a democracy, wouldn't you say? So why does America, the granddaddy of democracies, tolerate election systems that aren't free of fraud? OK, how rare is it? Can anyone put a number on it and tell us how much voter fraud is happening? Is voter fraud so rare in America that it can't affect an election? In a contest not finalized until nearly 8 months after Election Day, Democrat Al Franken won Minnesota's 2008 race for U.S. Senate by 312 votes. Out of the 2.9 million votes cast, that's a winning margin of just over .01%, or .0001075 of the total. Those 312 "votes" gave Democrats a filibuster-proof 60-seat Senate majority, allowing them to enact legislation that could forever change America. With so much being decided by such a small margin, shouldn't we be more concerned about fraud, regardless of whether it's committed by voters or vote counters? Vote counters weighed heavily in the Coleman-Franken election. Matthew Vadum alleges: "The election was stolen at the precinct level, during the recount, and during the post-election litigation."

Poll: U.S. has lost global standing under Obama: "A majority of Americans say the United States is less respected in the world than two years ago and believe President Obama and other Democrats fall short of Republicans on the issue of national security, according to a poll by two left-leaning groups. The Democracy Corps-Third Way survey released Monday finds that by a 10-point margin — 51 percent to 41 percent — Americans think the standing of the United States has dropped during the first 13 months of Mr. Obama's presidency. The Democratic Party also plummeted on national security. A May survey by the pollsters found that the public saw the Democratic and Republican parties as equally able to handle national security (41 percent trusted Democrats more and 43 percent trusted Republicans more). On conducting the war on terrorism, the two parties were tied at 41 percent. But the latest poll shows a massive gap, with Democrats trailing by 17 points, 33 percent to 50 percent, on which party likely voters think would do a better job on national security."

Obama and the l-word: "Here’s how predictable the president’s slippery relationship with the truth has become: Hours before the State of the Union address, Washington Examiner reporter Timothy P. Carney posted a ‘pre-emptive fact check’ that, among other things, prebutted any presidential claim to have ’stopped the revolving door between government and corporate lobbying.’ As it happened, that night Barack Obama made an even bolder (read: less truthful) claim: that ‘we’ve excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs.’ In fact, more than 40 former lobbyists work in the administration, including such policy makers as Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn (who was lobbying for Raytheon as recently as 2008), Office of the First Lady Director of Policy and Projects Jocelyn Frye (National Partnership for Women and Families), White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Cecilia Munoz (National Council of La Raza), and Treasury Secretary Chief of Staff Mark Patterson (Goldman Sachs).”

The taxing-the-rich delusion: "Those who like to propose novel taxes usually propose that they should be levied on rich people and corporations, and one of their standard assumptions is that rich people and corporations will actually pay them. In their hypothetical world the banker or businessman says, ‘Oh dear. There’s a new tax. Darn it, I’m just going to have to be poorer.’ The same banker or businessman then hands over the cash to government and accepts the loss stoically. In the real world, of course, they work out ways of avoiding the tax if possible, or of making sure that someone else pays it if not.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


9 March, 2010

The end of the road for Barack Obama?

Barack Obama seems unable to face up to America's problems, writes Simon Heffer in New York

It is a universal political truth that administrations do not begin to fragment when things are going well: it only happens when they go badly, and those who think they know better begin to attack those who manifestly do not. The descent of Barack Obama's regime, characterised now by factionalism in the Democratic Party and talk of his being set to emulate Jimmy Carter as a one-term president, has been swift and precipitate. It was just 16 months ago that weeping men and women celebrated his victory over John McCain in the American presidential election. If they weep now, a year and six weeks into his rule, it is for different reasons.

Despite the efforts of some sections of opinion to talk the place up, America is mired in unhappiness, all the worse for the height from which Obamania has fallen. The economy remains troublesome. There is growth – a good last quarter suggested an annual rate of as high as six per cent, but that figure is probably not reliable – and the latest unemployment figures, last Friday, showed a levelling off. Yet 15 million Americans, or 9.7 per cent of the workforce, have no job. Many millions more are reduced to working part-time. Whole areas of the country, notably in the north and on the eastern seaboard, are industrial wastelands. The once mighty motor city of Detroit appears slowly to be being abandoned, becoming a Jurassic Park of the mid-20th century; unemployment among black people in Mr Obama's own city of Chicago is estimated at between 20 and 25 per cent. One senior black politician – a Democrat and a supporter of the President – told me of the wrath in his community that a black president appeared to be unable to solve the economic problem among his own people. Cities in the east such as Newark and Baltimore now have drug-dealing as their principal commercial activity: The Wire is only just fictional.

Last Thursday the House of Representatives passed a jobs Bill, costing $15 billion, which would give tax breaks to firms hiring new staff and, through state sponsorship of construction projects, create thousands of jobs too. The Senate is trying to approve a Bill that would provide a further $150 billion of tax incentives to employers. Yet there is a sense of desperation in the Administration, a sense that nothing can be as efficacious at the moment as a sticking plaster. Edward B Montgomery, deputy labour secretary in the Clinton administration, now spends his time on day trips to decaying towns that used to have a car industry, not so much advising them on how to do something else as facilitating those communities' access to federal funds. For a land without a welfare state, America starts to do an effective impersonation of a country with one. This massive state spending gives rise to accusations by Republicans, and people too angry even to be Republicans, that America is now controlled by "Leftists" and being turned into a socialist state.

"Obama's big problem," a senior Democrat told me, "is that four times as many people watch Fox News as watch CNN." The Fox network is a remarkable cultural phenomenon which almost shocks those of us from a country where a technical rule of impartiality is applied in the broadcast media. With little rest, it pours out rage 24 hours a day: its message is of the construction of the socialist state, the hijacking of America by "progressives" who now dominate institutions, the indoctrination of children, the undermining of religion and the expropriation of public money for these nefarious projects. The public loves it, and it is manifestly stirring up political activism against Mr Obama, and also against those in the Republican Party who are not deemed conservatives. However, it is arguable whether the now-reorganising Right is half as effective in its assault on the President as some of Mr Obama's own party are.

Mr Obama benefited in his campaign from an idiotic level of idolatry, in which most of the media participated with an astonishing suspension of cynicism. The sound of the squealing of brakes is now audible all over the American press; but the attack is being directed not at the leader himself, but at those around him. There was much unconditional love a year or so ago of Rahm Emanuel, Mr Obama's Chief of Staff; oleaginous profiles of this Chicago political hack, a veteran of that unlovely team that polluted the Clinton White House, appeared in otherwise respectable journals, praising the combination of his religious devotion, his family-man image, his ruthless operating technique and his command of the vocabulary of profanity. Now, supporters of the President are blaming Mr Emanuel for the failure of the Obama project, not least for his inability to construct a deal on health care.

This went down badly with friends of Mr Emanuel, notably with Mr Emanuel himself. His partisans, apparently taking dictation from him, have filled newspaper columns and blogs with uplifting accounts of the Wonder of Rahm: as one of them put it, "Emanuel is the only person preventing Obama from becoming Jimmy Carter". They attack other Obama "sycophants", such as David Axelrod, his campaign guru, and Valerie Jarret, a long-time friend of Mrs Obama and a fixer from the office of Mayor Daley of Chicago who now manages – or tries to manage – the President's image. These "sycophants" have, they argue, tried to keep the President above politics, letting Congress run away with the agenda, and gainsaying Mr Emanuel's advice to Mr Obama to get tough with his internal opponents. This naïve act of manipulation has brought its own counter-counterattack, with an anti-Emanuel pundit drawing a comparison with our own Prime Minister and ridiculing the idea that Mr Obama should start bullying people too.

The root of the problem seems to be the management of expectations. The magnificent campaign created the notion that Mr Obama could walk on water. Oddly enough, he can't. That was more Mr Axelrod's fault than Mr Emanuel's. And, to be fair to Mr Emanuel, any advice he has been giving the President to impose his will on Congress is probably well founded. The $783 billion stimulus package of a year ago was used to further the re-election prospects of many congressmen, not to do good for the country. America's politics remain corrupt, populated by nonentities whose main concern once elected is to stay elected; it seems to be the same the whole world over. Even this self-interested use of the stimulus package appears to have failed, however. Every day, it seems, another Democrat congressman announces that he will not be fighting the mid-term elections scheduled for November 2. The health care Bill, apparently so humane in intent, is being "scrubbed" (to use the terminology of one Republican) by its opponents, to the joy of millions of middle Americans who see it as a means to waste more public money and entrench socialism. For the moment, this is a country vibrant with anger.

A thrashing of the Democrats in the mid-terms would not necessarily be the beginning of the end for Mr Obama: Bill Clinton was re-elected two years after the Republicans swept the House and the Senate in November 1994. But Mr Clinton was an operator in a way Mr Obama patently is not. His lack of experience, his dependence on rhetoric rather than action, his disconnection from the lives of many millions of Americans all handicap him heavily. It is not about whose advice he is taking: it is about him grasping what is wrong with America, and finding the will to put it right. That wasted first year, however, is another boulder hanging from his neck: what is wrong needs time to put right. The country's multi-trillion dollar debt is barely being addressed; and a country engaged in costly foreign wars has a President who seems obsessed with anything but foreign policy – as a disregarded Britain is beginning to realise.

There are lessons from the stumbling of Mr Obama for our own country as we approach a general election. Vacuous promises of change are hostages to fortune if they cannot be delivered upon to improve the living conditions of a people. The slickness of campaigning that comes from a combination of heavy funding and public relations expertise does not inevitably translate into an ability to govern. There is no point a nation's having the audacity of hope unless it also has the sophistication and the will to turn it into action. As things stand, Barack Obama and America under his leadership do not.



American Media, Blaming the ‘Right’: From Duranty and the KGB to Reuters

A recent article by Reuters is good reason to revisit the history of statist American media. A Reuters article last month titled “German protesters stop neo-Nazi march in Dresden” takes a hyper-partisan stab at what would otherwise have been a dull story. The article is short, 474 words, and describes a neo-Nazi funeral march in the German city to remember Nazi deaths by the Allied air raid in WWII. This event was thwarted by anti-Nazi protesters.

In this brief article about clear-cut good and evil, the political “right-wing” is awkwardly invoked six times, including under the caption. Such a ham-handed approach to finger-pointing can hardly go unnoticed. It is a sloppy attempt to paint the right-wing as sharing the ideology of one of the most evil men in history, Adolf Hitler.

As many people are beginning to understand, Nazism has nothing to do with modern conservatism or the clichéd “extreme right-wing” canard favored by the political left. In fact, all totalitarian regimes are on the extreme political left; nothing but anarchy exists on the extreme political right.

The modern left has its roots in the political phenomenon of the 1930s when progressivism, communism, fascism, socialism, and Nazism coalesced under the common flag of centralized governments and an ideology of collectivism. This worldwide movement went largely unchallenged ideologically until the reassertion of classical liberalism through the American conservative movement in the 1950s. The in-vogue politics of the 1930s spanned merely from the “right-wing” nationalistic fascism of Mussolini and Hitler to a “left-wing” muddle of socialism, Marxism, and communism.

To equate the George Washington-loving, Constitution-quoting, flag-carrying, tea partying conservatives of today with the Nazis or fascism is an exercise in fear mongering and a simple wordplay on the misconceptions of the historical context of “right-wing.” (For a simplistic explanation of this assertion, see this brief video.)

The “objectivity” of the modern press is often breached by such outbursts, as seen in the article referenced above. The political right-wing is excoriated through straw men and outright lies to be subliminal reminders of the purported righteousness of the ideological left. Nothing less can be expected of those with no defense based on their own history...

The most recent attempt on the alteration of history was perpetuated by Time magazine in its “The Year in Pictures” 2009 photo essay. One of the largest citizen marches on Washington, D.C., was conducted by the tea party movement on September 12, 2009. Estimates varied wildly from 60,000 to a whopping 2 million participants. A picture from this march was omitted from the essay. In fact, no reference at all was made to the massive grassroots phenomenon.

Instead, a photo of people simultaneously exhaling marijuana was included, as was a photo of a koala bear in a Melbourne animal rescue center. This tactic is from Soviet Russia. It was implemented under Stalin to purge political and military opposition from existence, both literally and historically. Aside from mass executions, prominent resisters and political competition had their faces sloppily airbrushed or blotted out in photographs. This was an intentional psychological blow by Stalin because it sent a message that his opposition would not only be defeated, but would ultimately be stricken from the record of history. It created a feeling for dissenters of utter futility.

Any shred of leftist intellectual honesty and journalistic curiosity was obliterated once Senator Obama threw his hat into the ring as a presidential candidate. The “mainstream” media whored out its last shred of credibility in a non-stop sycophantic obsession with this man of mystery. Having no desire to investigate clear connections to domestic terrorist William Ayers or Obama’s twenty-year relationship with black nationalist Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the media concentrated on defending the idea of “hope and change” personified.

Conservative commentator and rising media star Glenn Beck outs anti-capitalists in Washington, reports on economic news otherwise ignored by the American press, and teaches economic principles and American history to his audience. It’s not exactly the Jerry Springer styled chair-throwing brawl the left expects of Beck’s supposed neo-Nazi, gun-nut, ignorant, and religiously fanatical viewers. But then again, it’s possible the left could be wrong.

Most of his media critics even go so far as to enumerate Beck’s own weighty claims, but rather than demonstrate journalistic curiosity, they mock the messenger instead. Such antics smack of a desperation to retain control of information, especially as Beck’s recommended books and organizations rocket in sales and membership.

Activist and filmmaker James O’Keefe and friend Hanna Giles, featured on Glenn Beck’s show, single-handedly exposed the left-wing corruption ring of ACORN. Even an exasperated and self-proclaimed “fake journalist,” Jon Stewart, exclaimed: “Where were the real reporters on this story?”

After Climategate was plastered over European newspapers, the American “mainstream” media couldn’t even muster the will for corrections on previous alarmist climate articles, much less give equal exposure for the scandal. In fact, during snowstorms up and down the east coast, the New York Times published a defiant and lengthy op-ed by none other than Alliance for Climate Protection founder Al Gore.

Nary a peep came from a sleepy media while children were compelled by schools to sing songs of praise about Obama and celebrities pledged to be “a servant to the president.” These disturbing events send chills down the spines of anyone acquainted with even a passing knowledge of fascist propaganda tactics.

The left-wing media was unconcerned with phone conversations conducted at the behest the White House to plan propaganda for Obama’s agenda by the National Endowment for the Arts. At the very least MSNBC should have been outraged that they weren’t directed to step up their efforts before being replaced. The story broke on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood and later followed on Fox News.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of efforts ranging from unethical to egregious on the part of the media to promote a left-wing ideology. In fact, if the proxy war on conservatism through attacks on Republicans were included, this could easily be a book. But I’ll stop it here. In fairness, not all the wailing and gnashing of teeth from left-wing ideologues are unleashed on conservatives. Their Tourette-like outbursts of angry or childish musings can occasionally find even the most unlikely of targets: Maureen Dowd from the New York Times, in the midst of a slobbering entry about Barack Obama, did happen to criticize his ears for “sticking out.”

Of course, it wasn’t long before Dowd was “put on notice” that Obama had been “teased relentlessly as a kid” for his big ears. After that, she rejoined her journalistic cohorts in what they do best — polishing the boots of dictators.




New Obama Appointment Has Castro Ties : "President Obama made a terrible mistake nominating Mari Del Carmen Aponte to be ambassador to El Salvador. Aside from the fact that Aponte has given tens of thousands of dollars to Democrats, why would Obama waste more political capital trying to get this controversial and incompetent nominee into government? Nearly a dozen years ago, President Clinton nominated Aponte to be ambassador to the Dominican Republic. Several months later, her nomination was withdrawn because Aponte did not wish to answer Senators' tough questions about her past".

WI: ACORN registration workers charged with felony voter fraud: "Five Wisconsin residents, including two who worked for community organizing group ACORN, were charged Monday with election fraud relating to the 2008 presidential election. State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced felony charges against Maria Miles, Kevin Clancy, Michael Henderson, Herbert Gunka and Suzanne Gunka. Miles and Clancy worked for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now and are accused of submitting multiple voter registration applications for the same individuals, including each other, to meet voter registration quotas imposed by the community organizing group. Henderson is charged with one count of voting by a disqualified person and providing false information to election officials. The allegation claims he was on a felony probation and prohibited from voting at the time. Herbert and Suzanne Gunka are each charged with double voting -- a felony -- by allegedly absentee voting and then going to the polls to vote."

Obama, Congress wink at massive surveillance abuses: "Here's how it was supposed to be. Under his administration, candidate Barack Obama explained in 2007, America would abandon the "false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide." There would be "no more National Security Letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime" because "that is not who we are, and it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists." The serial betrayal of that hope reached its culmination last week, when a Democratic-controlled Congress quietly voted to reauthorize three controversial provisions of the USA Patriot Act without implementing a single one of the additional safeguards that had been under consideration -- among them, more stringent limits on the national security letters (NSLs) Obama had once decried. Worse yet, the vote came on the heels of the revelation, in a blistering inspector general's report, that Obama's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) had issued a secret opinion, once again granting retroactive immunity for systematic lawbreaking -- and opening the door for the FBI to ignore even the current feeble limits on its power to vacuum up sensitive telecommunications records."

CBS Radio Fails to Mention Muslims’ Role in Massacre of Hundreds of Christians in Nigeria: "The differences between news reports on the recent massacre of hundreds in Nigeria are stark. Listening to St. Louis’ KMOX-AM 1120 this morning, I heard the CBS Radio News report about about some 200 people being killed in “sectarian violence” during the past few days had left at least 200 dead in Nigeria. Conversely, Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald reported that the latest violence appeared unrelated to national sectarian political frictions. What else did the report from “the land down under” mention that CBS chose to omit? Two key facts: The vast majority of people killed were Christians; and Those doing the killing — primarily with machetes — were Muslims."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


8 March, 2010

Nazi Music

This is a difficult subject to broach because musical tastes differ so much from person to person. While there is some music that has near-universal appeal (some of the arias from "Carmen", for instance), it also seems to be true that no two persons have exactly the same musical preferences. This is a matter of some personal significance to me as I seem to be unusually strongly moved by music. Fortunately, there have been and still are some women in my life who do have largely similar feelings to mine about music. One dear friend once said to me: "I could forgive you anything because of the way you feel about music"

So in a field that is so bound up with emotion it is both difficult and dangerous to attempt the sort of objective comments that should characterize any discussion of history. After many years of avoiding the issue, however, I think I am now at the stage where I should take a stab at it. It seems to me that everything about Nazism should be open to discussion. We gain nothing by any hobbling our understanding of what Nazism was and how it came about and wreaked such destruction.

And the first thing I want to say is that it is a grave omission to neglect music as an element in the historical appeal of Nazism to Germans. Wherever they marched, Nazi formations sang -- be they Hitler Youth, brownshirts or the armed forces. And being German, their music was very good. Germany is the home of good music. German-speaking people are responsible for something like two thirds of the classical repertoire -- from Bach and Handel to Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Wagner, Schumann etc.

As a libertariian, any form of Fascism is anathema to me but I think it was William Booth (founder of the Salvation Army) who noted that the Devil had all the good songs. And the Nazis, just because they were German DID have many good songs. There were many Fascist movements worldwide in the first half of the 20th century but none of them were remotely as musical as the Nazis.

So good music had great power to move a musical people and it seems clear to me that music was one of the things that made Germans march for Hitler. Music is however a form of communication that transcends time and space so it seems to me that there is one way that I can support my contention of the importance of music to the appeal of Nazism: I can actually play you some of the music and you can judge it for yourself. I start with the Badenweiler march. This is actually a First World War march but Hitler made it his own. It was normally played only in his presence. It announced his arrival at rallies etc. As an aside, note in the accompanying video that the German army was still using horses to some extent in WWII

The famous song of the S.A. (Brownshirts) was of course the Horst Wessel Lied. It refers to prewar street fighting with the "Reds". There is no rivalry like sibling rivalry, though after Hitler came to power, many of the Reds simply joined the Nazis. There are some interesting shots of WWII military equipment in the video.

The English translation is a poor thing but I give it below for those who understand no German.

The flag high! The ranks tightly closed!
SA march with calm, firm steps.
Comrades shot by the Red Front and reactionaries
March in spirit in our ranks.
Clear the streets for the brown battalions,
Clear the streets for the stormtroopers!
Already millions look with hope to the swastika
The day of freedom and bread is dawning!
Roll call has sounded for the last time
We are all already prepared for the fight!
Soon Hitler's flag will fly over all streets.
Our servitude will soon end!
The flag high! The ranks tightly closed!
SA marches with a calm, firm pace.
Comrades shot by the Red Front and reactionaries
March in spirit in our ranks.

The original is much more moving:

Die Fahne hoch! Die Reihen fest geschlossen!
SA marschiert mit ruhig, festem Schritt.
Kam'raden, die Rotfront und Reaktion erschossen,
Marschier'n im Geist in unser'n Reihen mit.
Die Straße frei den braunen Batallionen.
Die Straße frei dem Sturmabteilungsmann!
Es schau'n aufs Hakenkreuz voll Hoffnung schon Millionen.
Der Tag für Freiheit und für Brot bricht an!
Zum letzten Mal wird schon Appell geblasen!
Zum Kampfe steh'n wir alle schon bereit!
Bald flattern Hitlerfahnen über alle Straßen.
Die Knechtschaft dauert nur mehr kurze Zeit!
Die Fahne hoch! Die Reihen fest geschlossen!
SA marschiert mit ruhig-festem Schritt.
Kameraden, die Rotfront und Reaktion erschossen,
Marschieren im Geist in unseren Reihen mit.

Then there is Vorwärts, Vorwärts -- the quite wonderful song of the Hitler Youth. It absolutely EXUDES dedication and heroism. The power of it may perhaps be judged from the fact that it is still illegal to play or sing it in Germany today. The words are actually quite simple and that may be the reason why some commenters describe them as banal -- but those who sang it certainly did not see it that way. They lived it during the closing stages of the war -- displaying great heroism in defending their country. The idealism is probably one of the reasons why those survivors of the Hitler Youth who are still alive today often have warm memories of their time in the Hitler Youth.

I could not find a translation online so I have done a rough translation myself. I have been translating German poetry into English poetry since I was 15 but I don't have time for that at the moment. Refrain and first verse only in the video above.


Uns're Fahne flattert uns voran. Our flag flutters before us
In die Zukunft ziehen wir Mann für Mann We trek into the future as man for man
Wir marschieren für Hitler We march for Hitler
Durch Nacht und durch Not Through night and need
Mit der Fahne der Jugend With the flag of youth
Für Freiheit und Brot. For freedom and bread
Uns're Fahne flattert uns voran, Our flag flutters before us
Uns're Fahne ist die neue Zeit. Our flag is the new time
Und die Fahne führt uns in die Ewigkeit! And the flag leads us into eternity
Ja die Fahne ist mehr als der Tod! Yes the flag is more to us than death

Vorwärts! Vorwärts! Forwards, forwards
Schmettern die hellen Fanfaren, Blare the bright fanfares
Vorwärts! Vorwärts! Forwards, forwards
Jugend kennt keine Gefahren. Youth knows no danger
Deutschland, du wirst leuchtend stehn Germany, you will brightly stand
Mögen wir auch untergehn. We also wish to go down
Vorwärts! Vorwärts! Forwards, forwards
Schmettern die hellen Fanfaren, Blare the bright fanfares
Vorwärts! Vorwärts! Forwards, forwards
Jugend kennt keine Gefahren. Youth knows no danger
Ist das Ziel auch noch so hoch, No matter how high the goal
Jugend zwingt es doch. Youth will achieve it

2.) Jugend! Jugend! Youth, Youth
Wir sind der Zukunft Soldaten. We are the soldiers of the future
Jugend! Jugend! Youth, Youth
Träger der kommenden Taten. Bearers of noble deeds
Ja, durch unsre Fäuste fällt Yes, through our fists fall
Wer sich uns entgegenstellt Anyone who opposes us
Jugend! Jugend! Youth, Youth
Wir sind der Zukunft Soldaten. We are the soldiers of the future
Jugend! Jugend! Youth, Youth
Träger der kommenden Taten. Bearers of noble deeds
Führer, wir gehören dir, Leader, we belong to you
Wir Kameraden, dir! We are your comrades

There is of course much more but the above will hopefully give you the idea. My apologies to any Jewish readers who may be offended by this post but Wagner is performed in Israel these days so I think the time has come when music can be judged as music, regardless of its appalling associations.


Consider "IF"

George W. Bush had been the first President to need a teleprompter installed to be able to get through a press conference, would you have laughed and said this is more proof of how he inept he is on his own and is really controlled by smarter men behind the scenes?

If George W. Bush had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take Laura Bush to a play in NYC, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had reduced your retirement plan's holdings of GM stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and incorrectly formatted DVDs, when Gordon Brown had given him a thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought this embarrassingly narcissistic and tacky?

If George W. Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia , would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the non-existent "Austrian language," would you have brushed it off as a minor slip?

If George W. Bush had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who cannot seem to keep current in their income taxes, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to "Cinco de Cuatro" in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again, would you have winced in embarrassment?

If George W. Bush had mis-spelled the word "advice" would you have hammered him for it for years like Dan Quayle and potatoe as proof of what a dunce he is?

If George W. Bush had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded he's a hypocrite?

If George W. Bush's administration had okayed Air Force One flying low over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in downtown Manhattan causing widespread panic, would you have wondered whether they actually get what happened on 9-11?

If George W. Bush had failed to send relief aid to flood victims throughout the Midwest with more people killed or made homeless than in New Orleans , would you want it made into a major ongoing political issue with claims of racism and incompetence?

If George W. Bush had created the position of 32 Czars who report directly to him, bypassing the House and Senate on much of what is happening in America , would you have approved.

If George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so, would you have approved?

If George W Bush had proposed to double the national debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had then proposed to double the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved?

So, tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive? Can't think of anything? Don't worry. He's done all this in less than a year -- so you'll have three years to come up with an answer.



Iceland: Voters reject plan to bail out British, Dutch bank customers: "After more than a year of watching helplessly as the Iceland financial crisis caused their government to collapse and their economy to crumble, many Icelanders woke up Sunday feeling that they finally had something to celebrate. With more than 98 percent of the ballots from Saturday’s nationwide referendum counted, more than 90 percent of voters have resoundingly rejected a $5.3 billion plan to pay off Britain and the Netherlands for debts spawned by the collapse of an Icelandic Internet bank.” [I can't for the life of me see why the ordinary citizens of a country should pay the debts of a failed commercial business]

Defiant Iraqis vote despite intimidation, killings: "The voting is done. Now comes time for counting. Officials at Baghdad’s Data Entry Center have begun counting the millions of votes that will decide which of the 6,200 candidates will fill Iraq’s 325 parliamentary seats and who will become Iraq’s next prime minister. The government imposed an 8 p.m. curfew for Baghdad.”

ACLU ad calls Obama “Bushlike”: "The possibility that President Obama could send the self-professed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks to a military tribunal has earned him the highest insult from the left — that he’s another George W. Bush. A full-page ad in Sunday’s New York Times left no doubt as to how the American Civil Liberties Union feels about the possibility of the president reversing the decision to send Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his alleged co-conspirators to civilian court. ‘What will it be Mr. President?’ the ad asks in boldfaced type. ‘Change or more of the Same?’ In the middle of those words are four photos that show Obama’s face morphing into Bush’s.”

TN: Tea party gets GOP candidates’ attention: "Tea party activists have helped a Republican win Ted Kennedy’s Massachusetts Senate seat. They have propelled the Texas governor to a third nomination. And they have shaken up races in New York, New Jersey and Virginia. Can they do it this summer in Tennessee? With more than one in four Tennesseans expressing sympathy for the goals of the movement, the Republican primary for governor — and possibly also the general election — could turn on who tea party voters support in August. … Meanwhile, the movement has given hope to at least one dark horse candidate."

Busting the well-endowed: "In the face of crushing deficits, is Washington finally serious about curbing its profligate ways? The clearest indication that the answer is ‘no’ is the continued existence of the three national endowments and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Together, they constitute no-brainer cuts — not only because the original rationale of these programs was daft but because their impact is so negligible that nixing them requires no forethought.”

Your congressman, shaper of souls: "Aristotle’s remarks in his Politics struck me as quaint and almost silly when I first read them in college: The statesman or legislator must mold his subjects like a potter molding a vase (book 7, part 4), and must shape future citizens by prescribing their education, even down to what kind of music they should be taught (book 8, part 3). The goal of politics is to perfect virtue (book 7, part 1) according to the constitution (monarchy, aristocracy, democracy) that is best suited to the basic temperament of the citizens (book 3, part 7). At the time I laughed, thinking that the state was just an impartial referee. It caught criminals and fought our enemies. Boy, was I wrong, on both counts: The legislator of course is not an impartial referee, and the laws do shape citizens, down to their very character.”

Road to ruin: "We invented the federal Highway Trust Fund in 1956, promising motorists and truckers that all proceeds from a new federal gas tax would be spent on building the interstate system. They aren’t. Congress has expanded federal highway spending beyond interstates to all types of roadways. And ever since 1982, a portion of those ‘highway user taxes’ have been diverted to urban transit. Today, the federal role in transportation includes mandating sidewalks, funding bike paths, and creating scenic trails. As a result, spending exceeds gas-tax revenues and the Highway Trust Fund is broke. Some claim this is because the 18.3-cents-per-gallon federal gas tax needs to be raised. But drivers can fairly put the blame on the fact that 25 percent of gas-tax funds are diverted to non-highway uses.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


7 March, 2010

Brainy workers earn much more over life course

More validation for intelligence tests

Brains translate into big bucks in the workplace, according to a University of Florida study, which finds that bright people have earned at least half a million dollars more by middle age than those who are less intellectually inclined. Smart people start out with modestly higher paychecks, but their income and job status greatly accelerate over time, said Ryan Klinger, a UF graduate student in management and one of the study’s researchers. “Although we expected mental ability to influence whether someone had a more prestigious job and earned more money, we were surprised by the magnitude of the difference,” he said. “Over the course of the study individuals with high intelligence outgained those with low intelligence by more than $580,000.”

Smart people set themselves apart as they make known their quickness of mind, problem-solving skills and workplace adaptability, Klinger said. “Because of the ease and flexibility with which people with greater mental ability learn and apply knowledge to complex situations, they enjoy much steeper growth in their occupational success over time,” he said.

Klinger worked with UF management professor Timothy Judge and graduate student Lauren Simon on the national study published in the January issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology. The researchers analyzed Department of Labor data from a nationally representative set of more than 12,500 people who have been tracked since 1979 when they were between 14 and 22 years old and just entering the work force. In addition, each of these participants took an aptitude test to assess their general intelligence.

When the study began, intelligent people earned an average of $1,575 more a year than less intelligent ones, with the gap widening to $16,474 a decade later, Klinger said. The change was dramatic by 2006 with smarter employees making an average of $38,819 more per year, a difference at least 20 times that of when they started, he said.

Huge variations in occupational prestige kept pace with rises in income, Klinger said. At the end of 28 years, a person of low intelligence moved up from a job at the level of apprentice plumber to that of plumber, while a highly intelligent person rose from a position comparable in status to vehicle dispatcher to one of the same standing as a civil engineer, he said.

Not only were intelligent individuals likely to acquire more knowledge and skills through education, on-the-job training and other means, but they were better at capitalizing on their assets, Klinger said. They used additional experience along with their superior mental skills to increase on-the-job knowledge, which boosted their careers, he said. “If two people had the same level of education, the person of higher intelligence was likely to do more with that education in applying that education or training to a job,” he said.

“Put simply, it is not only the amount one learns that matters, but also the flexibility and ease with which what is learned can be applied and manipulated,” he said. “With these capabilities, the intelligent have an advantage and one that is likely to translate into higher pay and greater occupational prestige.”

The gap could widen as the increasingly specialized workplace demands intelligent workers, Klinger said. “As jobs become more complex, we can expect these advantages to increase even more,” he said.

Klinger cautions against assumptions that brains alone could seal one’s fate for life. Hard work, more education and good social skills can make great differences, he said. “It might be disheartening to think that intelligence is predetermined to a certain extent by your genes, but I wouldn’t want people to interpret our findings to mean they can be born into an unsuccessful life,” he said. “There certainly were individuals in our study who were able to compensate for their low intelligence and achieve tremendous levels of career success and likewise individuals who because of their intelligence may have seemed destined for greatness but never met those expectations.”

Even people with little intelligence who acquired additional education and training advanced farther in their careers than those who never sought those opportunities, he said. And other factors besides brains can explain much of a person’s success, such as the ability to get along well with other people, Klinger said. “Research shows that in some cases people are able to compensate for low cognitive abilities with emotional intelligence,” he said.

The study examined only how intelligence relates to measures of achievement society uses and not those of individuals, Klinger said. “People often evaluate their own success based on more internal judgments, such as whether or not they enjoy going to work every day or whether or not they have the power to make a difference at their job,” he said.



Congressional estimates show grim deficit picture

A new congressional report released Friday says the United States' long-term fiscal woes are even worse than predicted by President Barack Obama's grim budget submission last month. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that Obama's budget plans would generate deficits over the upcoming decade that would total $9.8 trillion. That's $1.2 trillion more than predicted by the administration. The agency says its future-year predictions of tax revenues are more pessimistic than the administration's. That's because CBO projects slightly slower economic growth than the White House.

The deficit picture has turned alarmingly worse since the recession that started at the end of 2007, never dipping below 4 percent of the size of the economy over the next decade. Economists say that deficits of that size are unsustainable and could put upward pressure on interest rates, crowd out private investment in the economy and ultimately erode the nation's standard of living.

Still, the Feb. 1 White House budget plan was a largely stand-pat document that avoided difficult decisions on curbing the unsustainable growth of federal benefit programs like the Medicare health care program for the elderly and Medicaid, which provides health care to the poor and disabled.

The report says that extending tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 under GOP President George W. Bush and continuing to update the alternative minimum tax so that it won't hit millions of middle-class taxpayers would cost $3 trillion over 2011-2020. The tax cuts expire at the end of this year and Obama wants to extend them _ except for individuals making more than $200,000 a year and couples making $250,000.

For the ongoing budget year, CBO predicts a record $1.5 trillion deficit. That's actually a little better than predicted by the White House, but at 10 percent of gross domestic product, it's bigger than any deficit in history other than those experienced during World War II.

The new report predicts that debt held by investors, including China, would spike from $7.5 trillion at the end of last year to $20.3 trillion in 2020. That means interest payments would more than quadruple _ from $209 billion this year, to $916 billion by the end of the decade.



Tragedy Occurs. Media Rush to Blame Right-Wing

As friend of TH Allahpundit commented on Twitter, it begins:
John Patrick Bedell, whom authorities identified as the gunman in the Pentagon shooting on Thursday, appears to have been a right-wing extremist with virulent antigovernment feelings. If so, that would make the Pentagon shooting the second violent extremist attack on a federal building within the past month.
Many in the media have been quick to jump on homegrown attacks on federal buildings as evidence of "right-wing extremism," insinuating that anxiety and anger on the Right has led to these violent attacks. Apparently, anger at the prohibition of marijuana, conspiracy theories about the U.S. military's secret drug operation and quoting Marx are all symptoms of being a right-winger in the United States these days.

The media needs to be responsible in its reporting of these tragedies. And they need to own up to dishonest allegations about an entire political movement's culpability.

UPDATE via Michelle Malkin: Apparently another key indicator that you're a right-wing domestic terrorist is registering with the Democratic party.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


Iraq intervention now cautiously applauded by the Left!

Some excerpts from an article by Marty Peretz in TNR

There are three especially compelling personal testimonies arguing that Iraq is on its way to making its own inter-ethnic and inter-sectarian history, and it will be a relatively democratic history.

The last of these judgments came today, and it came from Gordon Brown, the British prime minister who is under Tory siege in the May elections. Iraq was always an unpopular war into which Brown’s predecessor, Tony Blair, also a Laborite inhabiting 10 Downing Street, led the Brits under the command of America. Brown’s last statement in this regard, including some politic dissents from George Bush’s early Iraq policy, appears in Friday’s New York Times.

The second of these pronunciamientos comes from Tom Ricks, authoritative or especially believable because of his authorship of two critical books on the American venture in Iraq, Fiasco and The Gamble.

In “Extending Our Stay in Iraq,” an op-ed in last Wednesday’s Times, Ricks focuses on President Obama’s coming predicament. Having pledged to start removing American troops early on, Obama may find that his withdrawal will come just at a time when U.S. personnel are needed most. The president put himself long ago --during the campaign, when he played to the crowds-- in this Iraqi conundrum. In his West Point address, he repeated the promise of withdrawal from Afghanistan when our presence there could be most important. This is a tic of the president’s, as a recent TNR editorial pointed out and as Dexter Filkins argued in the same issue.

Ricks concludes that American and Iraqi leaders “may come to recognize that the best way deter a return to civil war is to find a way to keep 30,000 to 50,000 United States service members in Iraq for many years to come. ... As a longtime critic of the American invasion of Iraq, I am not happy about advocating a continued military presence there. Yet... just because you invade a country stupidly doesn’t mean you should leave it stupidly.”

In one way or another, the logic of this last sentence will be taken up by the Obami in their irresistible volte face on Iraq. It will be an embarrassment, an enormous one. But there is no alternative save shame and defeat.

Unlike Ricks, Fouad Ajami has no reason to be unhappy about the consequences of his historic arguments about Iraq. (By the way, if you haven’t already, you should read Ajami’s review in TNR of the searing Algerian novel, The German Mujahid, by Boualem Sansal.) “Another Step Forward for Iraq” is his title and his argument in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal.

He begins with a gentle slap at Vice President Joe Biden for having “the audacity of claiming on CNN’s ‘Larry King Live’ that Iraq is destined to be ‘one of the great achievements of this administration.’” I would call it chutzpah, especially for Joe, who, despairing all through the Iraq venture, recommended a break-up of the country into three sectarian and tribal states.

In the received wisdom of those who never took to the justice or the wisdom of the Iraq war, the balance of power in the region was upended by the destruction of the Saddam Hussein regime that had presumably served as a buffer against the Iranian theocracy.

There is a better way of "balancing" Iran: a regime in Baghdad endowed with the legitimacy of democratic norms. Of all that has been said about Iraq since the time that country became an American burden, nothing equals the stark formulation once offered by a diplomat not given to grandstanding and rhetorical flourishes. Said former U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker: "In the end, what we leave behind and how we leave will be more important than how we came."

We can already see the outline of what our labor has created: a representative government, a binational state of Arabs and Kurds, and a country that does not bend to the will of one man or one ruling clan.




Voters Trust GOP More than Democrats on Eight of 10 Key Issues: "Voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats on eight out of 10 key issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports, but the gap between the two parties has grown narrower on several of them. Although the issue of health care continues to be at the forefront of the national political debate, voters rate health care as number five on the list of 10 important issues. The economy remains the top issue of voter concern as it has been for over two years. The only exception being last September when voters put government ethics and corruption at the top of the list. Republicans lead Democrats 46% to 41% in terms of voter trust on the economy. In early January 2009, just before President Obama took office, Democrats held a nine-point lead on this issue. More voters who make under $20,000 annually trust Democrats on this issue, but voters in higher income ranges favor Republicans."

A Big Snow Job: "As the economy continues to destroy jobs, we hear a new excuse. Frigid weather, the White House says, made the jobs report look worse than it is. Actually, even without snow, it's worse than you think. Businesses shed another 36,000 jobs during February, the latest jobs report shows, but the unemployment rate remained flat at 9.7%. This, say Democrats in Washington, is a positive sign. "Only 36,000 lost their jobs today," crowed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, as if losing thousands of jobs was an achievement. We're sad to say, the picture is even worse than it appears. Take that "only 36,000" figure. The real number is actually 51,000 jobs lost, because the government counts 15,000 temporary workers hired by the Census as new jobs. But these jobs aren't, in any meaningful sense, real full-time jobs. Would things have been better without all the snow? Undoubtedly. But we still would have lost jobs."

Stalin being "rehabilitated" in Russia: "Communist Party chiefs led a procession of largely elderly people across Red Square on the 57th anniversary of Stalin's death, laying flowers at his grave by the Kremlin wall. The solemn visit is an annual tradition for communists steeped in nostalgia for the Soviet era. But this year, it comes as Russia's bitter debate over Stalin's legacy sharpens ahead of May 9 celebrations marking 65 years since the Nazi defeat. For the first time in decades, Stalin's image may appear among the banners and posters that Moscow authorities put up for Victory Day, which will draw foreign leaders to Moscow as guests of the government. City plans to set up 10 information stands describing Stalin's role in the war have deepened animus between Russians who loathe him and their compatriots who love him."

Walpin scandal still alive: "An updated investigation report on the scandal known as "Walpingate" adds fuel to the suspicion that President Obama may have fired Gerald Walpin, an independent inspector general, as an illegal act of political cronyism and revenge. "Throughout our investigation of Mr. Walpin's removal, the White House has repeatedly communicated that the president was not motivated by inappropriate political reasons," said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., one of the authors of the updated report. "The fact is Gerald Walpin led an aggressive investigation of a political ally of President Obama that successfully recovered taxpayer dollars. While firing an investigator who uncovered the abuse of funds by a political ally might be considered an act of 'political courage' in Chicago politics, for most Americans it raises troubling questions." As WND reported, the White House fired Walpin shortly after the inspector general exposed sexual misconduct and gross misappropriation of federal funds by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a prominent Barack Obama supporter."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


6 March, 2010

Obama wants to give America its own chairman Mao

An arbitrary and authoritarian Left-wing extremist with no respect for the law has no place as a judge

Paul has written here and here about Goodwin Liu, a left-wing law professor whom President Obama has nominated to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. To say that Liu is thinly qualified would give him too much credit, as he has scarcely ever practiced law at all. Now, an attack Liu launched against John Roberts in 2005 has surfaced and has raised new questions about his nomination.

When President Bush first nominated Roberts to succeed Sandra O'Connor, Liu responded with an attack that tells us nothing about Roberts but a great deal about Liu. First, Liu criticized Roberts' associations:
Before becoming a judge, he belonged to the Republican National Lawyers' Association and the National Legal Center for the Public Interest, whose mission is to promote (among other things) ``free enterprise,'' ``private ownership of property,'' and ``limited government.'' These are code words for an ideological agenda hostile to environmental, workplace, and consumer protections.
Private property, free enterprise and limited government are "code words"? No one holding such a bizarre, anti-Constitutional view should hold public office in any capacity, certainly not as a judge.

Liu went on to attack an opinion that Roberts authored as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the famous "french fry" case, Hedgepeth v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. You might have to be a lawyer to fully appreciate the dishonesty of Liu's description of the case and of Roberts' opinion:
Last year, for example, he wrote an opinion rejecting the civil rights claims of 12-year-old Ansche Hedgepeth, who was arrested, searched, handcuffed, booked, and detained by police for eating a single french fry in a subway station in violation of D.C. law. Although an adult committing the same infraction would have received only a citation under D.C. law, Roberts said the police's treatment of Hedgepeth served the "goal of promoting parental awareness and involvement with children who commit delinquent acts."
From Liu's account you might think that Roberts was the D.C. official who wrote the law, not a judge called upon to rule on its constitutionality. Here is how Roberts began his opinion on the case:
No one is very happy about the events that led to this litigation. A twelve-year-old girl was arrested, searched, and handcuffed. Her shoelaces were removed, and she was transported in the windowless rear compartment of a police vehicle to a juvenile processing center, where she was booked, fingerprinted, and detained until released to her mother some three hours later -- all for eating a single french fry in a Metrorail station. The child was frightened, embarrassed, and crying throughout the ordeal. The district court described the policies that led to her arrest as "foolish," and indeed the policies were changed after those responsible endured the sort of publicity reserved for adults who make young girls cry. The question before us, however, is not whether these policies were a bad idea, but whether they violated the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. Like the district court, we conclude that they did not, and accordingly we affirm.
Roberts did, here, exactly what a judge is supposed to do--not impose his own opinion as to whether a law or ordinance is foolish, but evaluate its constitutionality according to established principles and precedents. It is worth noting, too, that Liu described Roberts' opinion in this case as though it were outside the mainstream, while in fact Roberts wrote for a unanimous court, and every judge who looked at the case ruled the same way. Liu here betrays the arrogance of the left-wing academic: anyone who disagrees with me is an extremist, even if his disagreement represents a consensus among competent jurists.

This is the section of his opinion in which Roberts evaluated the constitutionality of the D.C. no-food-in-the-Metro ordinance:
On cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court ruled in favor of the defendants. Hedgepeth v. Washington Metro. Area Transit, 284 F.Supp.2d 145, 149 (D.D.C.2003). Addressing the equal protection claim, the court applied "the highly deferential rational basis test," id. at 156, because it found that age is not a suspect class, id. at 152-53, and that there is no fundamental right to be free from physical restraint when there is probable cause for arrest. Id. at 155. The court then ruled that both the District's no-citation policy for minors and WMATA's zero-tolerance policy survived rational basis review.

Rational basis review applies and we accord the challenged policies a strong presumption of validity. We will uphold them "if there is any reasonably conceivable state of facts that could provide a rational basis for the classification." ... We conclude that the no-citation policy for minors is rationally related to the legitimate goal of promoting parental awareness and involvement with children who commit delinquent acts.

Issuing a citation to a child is complicated by the fact that there is often no ready way to ensure that the child is providing truthful or accurate identifying information. A child often will not be carrying a form of identification, and there is nothing to stop one from giving an officer a false name -- an entirely fanciful one or, better yet, the name of the miscreant who pushed them on the playground that morning. In this situation parents would be none the wiser concerning the behavior of their children. The correction of straying youth is an undisputed state interest and one different from enforcing the law against adults. Because parents and guardians play an essential role in that rehabilitative process, it is reasonable for the District to seek to ensure their participation, and the method chosen -- detention until the parent is notified and retrieves the child -- certainly does that, in a way issuing a citation might not. The district court had and we too may have thoughts on the wisdom of this policy choice -- it is far from clear that the gains in certainty of notification are worth the youthful trauma and tears -- but it is not our place to second-guess such legislative judgments. See City of New Orleans v. Dukes, 427 U.S. 297, 303, 96 S.Ct. 2513, 2516-17, 49 L.Ed.2d 511 (1976) (per curiam) (rational basis review does not authorize the judiciary to sit as a "superlegislature").
Far-left professors like Goodwin Liu don't seem to understand that a judge's role is not to serve as a dictator, imposing left-wing policy preferences on an unwilling public and an "unenlightened" legislature.

One last quote from Liu's self-revelatory attack on Roberts:
In addition to weakening key environmental laws, Roberts's theory of limited federal power would potentially undermine bedrock civil rights laws, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
"Roberts's theory of limited federal power"? Has Liu ever read the Constitution? Did he actually attend law school? If so, was he not taught that ours is a government of limited powers? It is shocking that President Obama would nominate an extremist like Goodwin Liu, who expresses outright hostility to the most fundamental principles of our democracy, to the federal bench. Republicans, as well as Democrats who understand that we do, indeed, have a government of limited powers, should do everything possible to defeat his nomination.



Intellectuals Step 'Off The Cliff,' Drag Rest Of Us Down

Smart people should make smart decisions. So why do the best and the brightest always seem to create more problems than they solve? This is not just an academic question, precisely because academics dominate the Obama administration and its approach to such key issues as health care and Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. Renowned economist Thomas Sowell argues that intellectuals have strong incentives to step out of their area of expertise and "off a cliff." Ultimately, everyday people pay the price when intellectuals and abstract concepts trump real-world specifics. Sowell explores these topics and more in a wide-ranging IBD interview regarding his latest book, "Intellectuals and Society."

IBD: How do you define intellectuals?

Sowell: I define intellectuals as persons whose occupations begin and end with ideas. I distinguish between intellectuals and other people who may have ideas but whose ideas end up producing some good or service, something that whether it's working or not working can be determined by third parties. With intellectuals, one of the crucial factors is their work is largely judged by peer consensus, so it doesn't matter if their ideas work in the real world.

IBD: What incentives and constraints do intellectuals face?

Sowell: One of the incentives is that, to the extent that intellectuals stay in their specialty, they have little to gain in terms of either prestige or influence on events. Say, an authority in ancient Mayan civilization just writes about ancient Mayan civilization, then only other specialists in ancient Mayan civilization will know what he is talking about or even be aware of him. So intellectuals have every incentive to go beyond their area of expertise and competence. But stepping beyond your area of competence is like stepping off a cliff - you may be a genius within that area, but an idiot outside it.

As far as the constraints, since their main constraint is peer consensus - that's a very weak constraint on the profession as a whole. Because what the peers believe as a group becomes the test of any new idea that comes along as to whether it's plausible or not.

IBD: You say that most intellectuals believe in the "Vision of the Anointed." What does that mean?

Sowell: It's the theory that there is an elite group of people who are very knowledgeable and their knowledge should be used to guide the decisions of society. So they are not simply an elite in the sense that sinecurists might be an elite, but they are elite with an anointed role in the world. To put it uncharitably, as someone once said, "Born booted and spurred to ride mankind." Examples of that would not be hard to find in Washington, D.C.

IBD: Why shouldn't intellectuals make decisions for the rest of us?

Sowell: Because they don't know as much as the rest of us. It's one of those non sequiturs. They have more average knowledge than the average person in the limited sense in which knowledge is usually spoken of by intellectuals. But the knowledge that has consequences in the world includes vast amounts of knowledge that I call mundane knowledge and probably no one on earth has 1% of that knowledge. Yet that knowledge is consequential, and it includes knowledge that is in no way intellectually challenging but is nevertheless crucial.

Much more HERE


Obama's foreign policy: Mostly Hope

After more than a year in office, the Obama foreign policy based on hope has run its course. Time after time, the administration has pursued a policy of pre-emptive concession rather than hard bargaining, with predictable results. In Europe, the U.S. simply walked away from a defensive missile shield in an effort to hit the "restart" button with Russia. Our allies, Poland and the Czech Republic, who had counted on our commitment, were hung out to dry.

In the Middle East, the U.S. has hectored our best ally in the region, Israel, while assiduously courting Syria. The "open hand" that was so flamboyantly extended to Iran was also offered to Syria. Bashar al-Assad didn't get a videotaped New Year's message from the president, as the mullahs did, but a procession of high-ranking diplomats has trooped to Damascus to offer better relations, trade agreements, and diplomatic recognition. Without preconditions, the administration decided to name a U.S. ambassador to Syria for the first time since 2005, when the U.S. withdrew its ambassador to protest Syria's role in the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The administration might have asked for any number of commitments in exchange -- an end to support for insurgents in Iraq or cutting off aid to Hezbollah and Hamas -- but it chose hope instead.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did make one request, though -- that Syria reciprocate for these gestures by distancing itself from Iran. Last week, al-Assad responded. Hosting Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in Damascus, al-Assad ostentatiously signed a treaty of friendship with Iran and said of the secretary of state's request, "I find it strange how they talk about Middle East stability and at the same time talk about dividing two countries." Further mocking her, al-Assad joked, "We must have understood Clinton wrong because of bad translation or our limited understanding, so we signed the agreement."

The administration has been similarly accommodating toward China, starting with Secretary Clinton's February 2009 declaration that human rights issues in China "can't interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis, and the security crisis." The president followed up by declining to see the Dalai Lama before his November trip to China (though, he did finally host him last month). While there, Obama tamely agreed to speak before an audience of carefully chosen communist party students, without any assurance that his comments would be broadcast live.

The president's defenders argued that the soft approach to China would yield dividends in other areas -- such as Chinese support for tough sanctions against Iran. That fond expectation is now being tested.

Late, very late, the Obama administration has gotten around to the arduous process of pursuing sanctions on Iran. In May 2009, the president said "we're not going to have talks forever" and estimated that "by the end of the year," he'd re-evaluate. In July, watching the regime's thugs shoot down protesters in the streets, he accelerated the timetable slightly, saying that the Iranians would need to prove their bona fides by September.

Something did happen in September: Word reached Obama and other world leaders that Iran had built a secret nuclear enrichment facility outside the city of Qom. The president was scheduled to address the United Nations on Sept. 24 and preside over the Security Council the next day. It would have been a perfect moment to confront Iran about its duplicity, abandon the policy of "engagement," and rally international support, as French president Nicolas Sarkozy urged. But the president said nothing. He didn't want the "diversion" of Iran to detract attention from his nuclear disarmament message. This prompted Charles Krauthammer to note the president's achievement in getting to France's left on foreign policy.

Now the administration is hoping to get United Nations backing for a series of sanctions reportedly including choking off access to international credit and limiting oil exports. Are the Russians and Chinese on board? Spokesman Robert Gibbs has been long on hope, touting "the resolve and unity of the international community with regard to Iran's nuclear program."

But this week, the Chinese told the Security Council that there is still room for diplomacy, and the Russians advised that there is "still a horizon" for negotiations. This is what comes of using a smile for your umbrella.



"Coffee Party" Leftism covered up

John Roberts and Kiran Chetry omitted mentioning that Annabel Park, the founder of the so-called Coffee Party, worked as a volunteer for President Barack Obama's presidential campaign, during an interview on Wednesday's American Morning. The anchors also didn't mention Park's past work for the liberal New York Times.

Roberts and Chetry interviewed the Coffee Party USA founder at the bottom of the 8 am Eastern hour. After an initial question about the origin of the name, the two asked about the principles of the nascent movement and if health care "reform" was going to be a major issue for it. In her last question to Park, Chetry did ask if the Coffee Party had any ties to a political party: "[T]he tea party movement really, in some ways, has been a challenge to Republicans to move more toward fiscal conservative ideals. Are you aligned with a party? I mean, as we know, passing health care reform has been a huge goal of liberal Democrats for decades. Are you aligned with the Democrats, trying to get them more to move to the left when it comes to health care?"

The founder denied that her movement was aligned to any party, and actually criticized the longstanding two-party system in the United States as being "incredibly outdated." In reality, as William A. Jacobson of Legal Insurrection blog exposed, Park worked for one of the two parties, as an organizer and operator of the United for Obama video channel on YouTube (NewsBuster P. J. Gladnick blogged about Jacobson's expose on Tuesday evening). As the United for Obama page admits, "We are a network of Obama volunteers from all across the country and from all backgrounds working together to support Obama's message of unity and change....Some of us are filmmakers and we created this page to amplify Obama's message on YouTube...The filmmakers include...Annabel Park..."



Bizarre Bachmann Obsession Strikes Again: Lefty Group Introduces Derogatory Comic Book

Latest liberal attack on congresswoman already in its third issue

You got to wonder, what is it with this relative congressional backbencher that drives lefties so crazy? Throughout Rep. Michele Bachmann's, R-Minn., two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, she has been target of liberal scorn - from the great mind of MSNBC's Ed Schultz to the bomb-throwing commentator parading as a pseudo-investigative journalist known as Matt Taibbi. But this latest round of Michele Bachmann derangement syndrome actually required time and effort - a comic book dedicated to denigrating the representative from Minnesota's 6th Congressional district.

The comic book series is called "False Witness! The Michele Bachmann Story" and is up to its third issue. The first issue laid a foundation for future misogynistic exploits by the creators and the second issue took direct quotes from Bachmann to prove anecdotally she's a "right-wing lunatic." And in the latest installment, the creators wear their feelings on their sleeves about Bachmann's stand for traditional marriage instead of supporting a pro-homosexual agenda.

Eric Kleefeld of the left-wing news site Talking Points Memo reviewed the third issue and concluded this "art" made a "serious point" about Bachmann - not that she actually believes what she says, but instead she is just operating to advance her own political career.

"As for the treatment of the subject matter, the creators set out to make a serious point: That Bachmann has advanced her career on a platform of singling out a group within society for hatred and ostracism, and that this is a highly dangerous thing to do," Kleefeld wrote.

For those that think this type of political art is something that would fit into their collection - a misogynistic angry screed about a relative newcomer to the U.S. House of Representatives, the each of the issues are available for $4.95 through PayPal on the creators' Web site.



My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


5 March, 2010

Lefties too clever by half

A mocking comment from German economist Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich below. As I pointed out on Feb. 26, the research Dr Hartwich ridicules is junk science anyway

This week’s news held an unpleasant surprise for the world’s conservatives and religious. Luckily for them, they were probably too dumb to understand it.

A long-time study by the London School of Economics (LSE) just revealed that being politically conservative or religious goes hand in hand with lower intelligence. The more respondents identified as left-wing or atheist, the higher their IQ. Conversely, conservative or religious convictions correlated with lower intelligence.

The differences were too large to be random. While young adults who thought of themselves as ‘very progressive’ scored 105 points on average, their ‘very conservative’ contemporaries only managed 95 points on the IQ scale. The gap between the atheists and the faithful was smaller, but the non-believers still beat the religious by 103 to 97.

Dr Satoshi Kanazawa, a psychologist at the LSE, has a simple explanation for these patterns. He believes that more intelligent people were better able to respond to new problems and thus willing to question traditional beliefs and values. Unfortunately, he did not say whether this was, in fact, an intelligent strategy. True conservatives, at least the barely literate among them, could argue that it is not a sign of great cleverness to fiddle with time-tested institutions such as property rights or civility.

In the same way, we may well wonder about the wisdom behind another of Dr Kanazawa’s findings. In previous times, he said, we only cared for friends and families. But the more intelligent among us had left this ancient pattern behind to reach a higher evolutionary level. Lefties are now ‘caring about millions of total strangers and giving up money to make sure that those strangers will do well.’

This may well explain the left’s support of the welfare state and foreign aid. And yet, at least in historical terms, there is no example of a people becoming prosperous because strangers wanted them to be. Again, conservatives would intuitively understand this, although they may not be able to put this thought into a complete sentence.

The LSE findings may not cheer up conservatives, but they don’t need cheering up anyway. According to another study by the Aarhus School of Business in Denmark, personal happiness is far more widespread among conservatives than among lefties. And yet another study, this time by the University of Florida, revealed that conservatives also have higher incomes than the unhappy left-wing ‘intelligentsia.’

Considering all this evidence, perhaps being a leftie is not such a clever idea after all?

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated March 5. Enquiries to cis@cis.org.au. Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.


The Undemocratic Democrats

Arrogance is an occupational hazard in politics, one that is often fatal, and the Democrats show every sign of having succumbed. You would think someone in the party would sound the alarm. But, so far, Democrats seem willing to follow their leaders off the cliff. The president, House speaker and Senate majority leader appear ready to defy the American public and ram a disastrous and unpopular overturn of health care down our throats, regardless of the consequences to the country or their own political futures. There is something deeply disturbing about this turn of events -- and undemocratic.

There was considerable evidence that Barack Obama had these tendencies even before he became president. While much of the media was fawning over his eloquence, some critics warned that Obama's repeated declaration that he wanted "to fundamentally transform America" was a disturbing sign of the man's hubris.

And while his assertion was laughable, the night he won the presidency, that his election would mark "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal," the statement also had a dark undertone. Like the promise to fundamentally transform America, it said something not just about the president's inflated view of himself, it also bespoke a flawed understanding of the role of the president and the limits of presidential power.

Now, when asked whether he's willing to accept the political consequences of passing health care legislation that the voting public opposes, the president says that he would rather be "a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president." It's an amazing statement when you think about it. It says, none too subtly, that Obama has little faith in the voting public to recognize what's good for the country. Now that is a stunning indictment of democracy on his part.

But Obama is not alone among his fellow Democrats to demonstrate his contempt for the democratic process. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have no qualms about moving forward even when the voters are opposed. Pelosi has told Democrats that they should sacrifice their own re-election if necessary: "We're here to do the work of the American people," she told ABC last week in an interview that aired Sunday.

The statements reek of elitist self-importance. Almost by definition, "really good" presidents are re-elected. And while, occasionally, a mediocre president also gets re-elected -- provided the country's at peace and the economy is humming along -- all the one-termers I can think of fall into the mediocre or worse category. And who is it that Pelosi thinks determines "the work of the American people?" Shouldn't the people have a say in what constitutes their own "work"?

The White House has now set a deadline of March 18 for Congress to pass the largest piece of social legislation in the last 50 years. What's so important about that date? Will millions of Americans suddenly lose their health care or premiums skyrocket that day? No, according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, it's just that Obama is leaving on a trip to visit his boyhood home of Indonesia that day and, apparently, wouldn't want to be inconvenienced by waiting for Congress to engage in more thorough deliberation and debate.

The president has already made more foreign trips than any of his predecessors at this point, but, of course, the "deadline" is just another way to pressure Democrats to get the bill passed before there is more public outcry that might convince elected officials to vote the way their constituents want them to.

Democrats need to ask themselves the following question: Whom do I owe loyalty to: the people who elect me or the leaders of my party? True democrats -- regardless of party -- understand that they are not in office to fulfill their own wishes. They are there as the representatives of the people. Democrats who choose to follow President Obama and Speaker Pelosi, in defiance of their constituents, aren't just jeopardizing their political futures. They're acting undemocratically.



The Obama Way: Bluster, Bully, Bribe

by Michelle Malkin

The White House took great offense this week when conservatives suggested President Obama might be trading a judicial appointment for a wavering Democrat's vote on his health care reform plan. "Absurd," a miffed administration official told Politico.com. Wherever could the American people get such an impression? Let us count the ways.

On Wednesday, the very day Obama hosted 10 swing Democrats who had opposed the expansive health care takeover bill in November, the White House issued a press release trumpeting the nomination of Scott M. Matheson Jr. to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Matheson just happens to be the brother of Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah -- one of the 10 Dems invited to sip wine and nosh on calorically correct appetizers with the arm-twister-in-chief.

The seat on the 10th Circuit has been vacant for nearly a year. When one of the judges, Michael McConnell, resigned to take a lucrative post at Stanford Law School last summer, Matheson -- Rhodes Scholar, law school professor and dean -- let the White House know right away he wanted the job. For nearly a year, there was no action. Liberal groups have been complaining for months about the glacial pace of Obama's judicial nominations -- a predicament they blame not solely on obstructionist Republicans, but on Obama's own team of incompetent, indecisive foot-draggers who put the issue at the bottom of their priority list. (It's worth noting that Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch supports Matheson's candidacy.)

As the National Law Journal pointed out at the beginning of this year, "the Obama administration has been slower than the Bush administration was in sending judicial nominations to the Senate, submitting 12 circuit nominations last year compared with 28 for Bush in 2001. The White House last named a circuit nominee on Nov. 4." Now, out of nowhere, comes the announcement of Matheson's nomination -- in the heat of White House vote-grubbing to salvage the Democrats' government health care designs? To quote Dana Carvey's old Church Lady character on "Saturday Night Live": How conveeenient.

Let us consider the possibility, for a brief moment, that this is all merely coincidence. Is the White House so fantastically blind and tone-deaf that it failed to detect the blood-red flags and blaring alarm bells that Scott Matheson's judicial nomination would raise coming on the very day Obama was wooing his brother? Incorrigibly corrupt or incorrigibly stupid. Take your pick.

The perception of a judgeship-for-Obamacare-vote deal is, of course, horribly unfair to Matheson, who seems more than qualified for the position. But full blame for creating that unmistakable perception lies squarely at the feet of the rank opportunists in the White House, whose timing is worse than a broken metronome.

This debacle comes on the heels of damning disclosures about other possible White House bribery. Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania admitted to veteran Philly newsman Larry Kane that Team Obama dangled a "high-ranking" position in the administration if he dropped out of the Senate race and left incumbent Republican-turned-Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter alone.

In Colorado, the Denver Post reported last fall that Deputy White House Chief of Staff Jim Messina "offered specific suggestions" for an Obama administration job to far-left Democrat Andrew Romanoff if he withdrew his challenge to White House-backed incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.

And earlier this month, The Washington Times noted that Mary Patrice Brown, the person assigned by the Justice Department to oversee an internal investigation into the shady dismissal of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation cases, is now "the leading candidate for a federal judgeship -- for which she is being vetted by some of the same offices she supposedly is investigating."

So, wherever did we get the impression that pay-for-play is the Obama way? Somewhere, Chicago corruptocrat Rod Blagojevich -- who wanted to play, but didn't get paid -- is laughing bitterly.




With their characteristic political stupidity, most American Jews tend to be quite scornful of Christian Zionists -- but Bibi is much more realistic and appreciative. There is a rather mocking article by a diaspora Jew in a major Left-leaning Australian newspaper here that does give some useful information about that -- amid the inevitable scorn. I think Pastor Hagee is on the right track myself. The Bible is all about Israel so how can a true Christian not be a supporter of Israel -- whether or not you believe that we are in "end times"? Moses described his people as "stiff-necked" and that description continues throughout the prophets. So the compulsive Leftism (which is a form of arrogance) that moves most American Jews is entirely to be expected. But Christians read in their Bibles that God chose them and that is all that matters. They accept with joy the wisdom of their God.

USA to resume aid to Honduras: "U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday the Obama administration will resume aid to Honduras that was suspended after a coup [sic] last year and urged Latin American nations to recognize the new Honduran government. Clinton said the Honduran government that took office in January was democratically elected, was reconciling the population split by last June’s coup and deserved normal relations with countries that cut ties after the ouster of the former president.”

Germany: Four jailed over plot to attack US bases: "Two German converts to Islam and two Turkish men were convicted Thursday over a foiled 2007 plot to attack U.S. targets in Germany and given prison sentences ranging up to 12 years. The four men, operating as a German cell of the radical Islamic Jihad Union, had plotted bombing attacks against American citizens and facilities including the U.S. Air Force’s Ramstein base in Germany, the Duesseldorf state court found.”

The most important movie of the year: "If I told you that Generation Zero is the best movie about deficit spending and national debt that you will ever see, would you think I was making a joke? As in, how much competition can there be in such a category? OK, there’s not much competition in the ‘fiscal film’ category. But Generation Zero … is going to do for the tea party movement — and the larger cause of controlling government spending — what Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth did for the global warming debate. There are some differences, however.”

Obama generates gloom: "Just 25% of U.S. voters now say the country is heading in the right direction, the lowest level of voter confidence since early January 2009. Correspondingly, the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 69% believe the nation is heading down the wrong track, the highest level measured in 14 months. These findings mirror those in a separate survey this week that shows views of the country's short- and long-term economic future are gloomier than they have been at any time since President Obama took office in January of last year. Leading up to his inauguration a year ago, the number of voters who felt the country was heading in the right direction remained below 20%. The week of his inauguration, voter confidence rose to 27% and then steadily increased, peaking at 40% in early May 2009. Confidence has declined since. As is often the case, there was a brief burst of enthusiasm at the beginning of the year when 32% said the country was heading in the right direction, but that quickly faded.

Another Democrat exits the sinking ship: "Congressman Eric Massa of the 29th district of New York has announced that he is retiring. Politico reports that there are allegations that he sexually harassed a staffer and that he has health issues, so let us say it is not clear exactly what precipitated his decision. In addition, this was anything but a safe seat. Massa defeated Republican incumbent Randy Kuhl in 2008 by a 51%-49% margin while John McCain was carrying the district 50%-48%. Massa lost to Kuhl 51%-49% in 2006; George W. Bush carried the district 56%-42% in 2004. In November Massa voted against the House Democrats’ health care bill, charging that it did not go far enough; it’s a good guess that the Democratic leadership will work to get his vote for the Senate bill. This district, which covers much of Upstate New York’s Southern Tier and includes some suburbs of Rochester, has been an obvious Republican target since the 2008 results came in."

And another one: "Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.) will announce on Friday that he won’t run for re-election to an 8th term in November, becoming the 16th House Democrat to announce plans to leave at the end of this Congress. … Delahunt’s 10th district, which stretches from Cape Cod to the South Shore, could be targeted by Republicans. Earlier this week Joseph Kennedy III, the son of former Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.), made clear he would not run for Delahunt’s seat.”

Leftist Britain's tax madness: "Adam Smith put forward four maxims whose ‘evident justice and utility’ should guide nations in their tax policy. He wanted equity, with people to contribute in proportion to the revenue they enjoy. Note that this implies a flat, rather than a progressive, rate. He sought certainty, with citizens knowing the amount, the manner of payment and the time it fall due. Any arbitrary discretion would open opportunities for corruption. He specified convenience, with taxes levied in ways and at times most convenient to the taxpayer. And he stressed efficiency, with no taxes that were disproportionately costly or damaging to collect. Smith did not sanction taxes simply designed to punish people for being rich. The forthcoming 50 percent tax rate fails the tests of both equity and efficiency.”

Britain's "Greenest" newspaper taken over by Russian: "Alexander Lebedev, the former KGB spy, is the new owner of The Independent, industry sources told The Times. The purchase of the loss-making title and The Independent on Sunday comes after the Russian billionaire’s surprise takeover of the London Evening Standard for £1 last January. It is likely that Mr Lebedev will pay a token £1 to the owners Independent News & Media (INM), although he will pledge to invest millions in the two papers. A deal was completed yesterday and is expected to be announced today, sources said... The Independent and The Independent on Sunday were launched in 1986 and 1990 as an alternative to the long-established Fleet Street publications. In 1989 daily circulation reached 400,000, but is now 186,000. The papers lose about £10 million a year."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


4 March, 2010

The power of hate

There's nothing more beautiful than a young child. Nothing. The brightness of spirit, the spontaneity, the natural intelligence – which Einstein called "the holy curiosity of inquiry" – are breathtaking. What, then, possesses a smart, handsome young 5- or 6-year-old boy to go on Palestinian television and sing, "When I wander into Jerusalem, I will become a suicide bomber"? Or a group of children, both boys and girls, to sing together, "How pleasant is the smell of martyrs, how pleasant the smell of land, the land enriched by the blood, the blood pouring out of a fresh body."

What? How does the horror and stench of death magically transform into the "pleasant smell" of life and glory for these kids? What happens to them in their earliest, most vulnerable years to induce some to later strap on explosive belts and vaporize themselves while murdering dozens of unsuspecting innocents?

Why, growing up in a "normal home" with a mom, dad, siblings, school and friends, does a young man suddenly feel compelled to stab his own sister to death – knifing her not just once or twice, but over and over again in a murderous frenzy – just because somebody said she was walking down the street with a male who wasn't a relative?

Clearly, as these young people's indoctrination progresses from singing songs about atrocities to actually committing them, we're witnessing not only a toxic philosophy at work, but also the magic ingredient that makes that philosophy come to life – namely, hatred. Underneath all the smiles, underneath the "devout" faith, underneath whatever persona is masking the overwhelming fear, confusion, and jihadist programming that have been cultivated in them since birth, lies the nuclear reactor core of their being – a smoldering fireball of suppressed rage.

Intense hatred has a way of morphing inexorably into full-blown, epic madness. Indeed, hate is like spiritual plutonium, possessing bizarre, explosive and transformative qualities of which we are largely unaware. It is the means by which evil itself blooms on this earth, especially when rage is focused and magnified by a malignant worldview. If you think this is overstated, just contemplate with me the following news items:

* Popular Middle East television programming for children that features jihadist clones of Mickey Mouse, Sesame Street characters and other kids' favorites, in which the lovable, cuddly stars teach children vicious lies and the virtues of mass murder.

* Rape victims being flogged and imprisoned, as when a Saudi court in early 2009 sentenced a 23-year-old female who had been gang-raped by five men to 100 lashes and a year in jail. Her crime? Accepting a lift from a man who drove her against her will to his house and took turns, with four of his friends, raping her.

* An epidemic of "honor killings" – at least 5,000 per year according to the U.N., but many more that go unreported – in which fathers, brothers or mothers brutally murder their own daughter/sister merely for being seen in public with a male or similar "offense." For example, two Jordanian brothers used axes to murder their two sisters, aged 20 and 27, after the older sister left home to marry a man without her family's permission and the younger one ran away to join her. After someone tipped off the brothers as to their sisters' whereabouts, the men went into their home with axes and hacked them to death. "It was a brutal scene," one government official told the Jordan Times. "One victim's head was nearly cut clean off."

* Maniacal, zombie-like "religious police," such as those in Saudi Arabia who on March 11, 2002, allowed 15 young girls to die horrible deaths when a fire broke out in their school in Mecca. The religious police, or Mutaween, literally blocked firefighters from saving the girls because they weren't dressed in the proper Islamic way for girls and women to be seen outdoors. With helpless firemen watching, the religious police literally beat the girls – those who were not wearing their headscarves or abayas – back into the inferno.

What we're looking at here is criminally insane behavior – no less insane or criminal than that exhibited by severely deranged people we routinely lock up in maximum-security psychiatric hospitals or prisons in the United States.

Of course, by now we've all heard more than we care to know about radical jihad culture, with its pathological blame of Jews for everything, its condemnation of Western Civilization and its "die-while-killing-infidels-and-Allah-will-give-you-virgins" recruitment pitch. But distilling this "martyrdom" obsession down to its essence, common sense tells us no one murders innocent people or forces schoolgirls back into a burning building unless they're insanely angry. So, where exactly does this hate come from?

Let's understand, even a violent philosophy like that of radical Islam isn't necessarily sufficient, by itself, to create a rage-fueled jihadist. No, you become full of hate and driven to violate others only when someone else first violates you – when a parent, older sibling, teacher, cleric or other authority figure intimidates, frightens, degrades, bullies, humiliates or perhaps sexually abuses you. And such cruelty and degradation are, unfortunately, endemic in much of the Islamic world. Its rigid, authoritarian religious system, the near-slave status and abuse of women, the suffocating sexual repression, the widespread incidence of what can only be called the world's most flagrant child abuse (where even toddlers are groomed for future "martyrdom operations"), and the pervasive fear of flogging, amputation or stoning if one runs afoul of the ultra-strict Sharia legal code – all this creates an environment reeking of quiet terror. No wonder its victims take to terrorism so readily.

So, once these parents and other authorities, full of the madness and confusion injected into them during their own youth, succeed in passing it on to the next generation of youngsters by intimidating and indoctrinating them, it's child's play to focus the newly created jihadists' zeal onto the appropriate "hate object" – Jews, Americans, "infidels" and so on.

This dynamic is not unique to radical Islam. In fact, believe it or not, it's the hidden fabric of all too much of our own lives – albeit usually in a far less extreme form. In a perverse mirror reflection of the Golden Rule, we all tend compulsively to do unto others what was done unto us. We effortlessly internalize the cruelty of others.

This is because, aside from the obvious effects being angry and upset have on us – making us emotional, clouding our judgment and so on – it also throws us into "program mode." That's right: When we get upset at the intimidating words or actions of other people, their cruelty "infects" us in a very real way. So, for instance, if our parents angrily yelled at us all the time when we were children, we would tend to angrily yell at those smaller and weaker than us. A little bit of the bully gets inside of us, and we then bully others, in one form or another. We've all seen this, and we know that our prisons are full of molesters and abusers who were molested and abused as children.

Thus, maniacal imams and jihadist teachers find it relatively easy convert innocent children into suicide bombers. The first step is to indoctrinate them from birth with a poisonous belief system demonizing "infidels," a process explained by Israeli counter-terrorism expert Itamar Marcus in "The Genocide Mechanism":

Common to the framing of all genocide is a very specific kind of demonization. In Rwanda, the Hutus taught that the Tutsis were cockroaches and snakes. Tutsi women were portrayed as cunning seductresses who used beauty and sexual power to conquer the Hutus. … Radio Rwanda repeatedly broadcast a warning that Hutus were about to be attacked by Tutsis, to convince the Hutus that they needed to attack first to protect themselves.

This demonization included two specific components. First, the victims had to be perceived as a clear and present threat, so that the killers were convinced they were acting in self-defense. Second, the victims were dehumanized, so that the killers convinced themselves that they were not destroying real human beings.

Teaching children virtually from birth that Jews are subhuman, evil oppressors of Muslims – fiends who grind up Arab youngsters to use as ingredients in their Passover matzoh – is epidemic in the Islamic world. A typical example: The Saudi satellite television station Iqraa broadcast an interview with a 3-year-old Egyptian girl named Basmallah, who answered a question about Jews by declaring: "They are apes and pigs."

But this little girl is not about to murder anyone. She's just repeating statements fed to her by adults for the sake of winning their love and approval. Dehumanizing indoctrination isn't quite enough to launch a genocide. There must also be hate, and lots of it – not merely to fuel the atrocity machine, but to allow the indoctrination to fully take root.

In other words, whatever the toxic programming may be – Hutus demonizing Tutsis as "cockroaches and snakes," Turks accusing Armenians of being "enemy collaborators," Nazis likening Jews to "vermin" – for such outrageous and counter-intuitive falsehoods to be both believed and acted upon, those being indoctrinated must be kept in a very emotional state.

Recall that Hitler always kept his audiences super-emotional; that's how he programmed them and guarded against their naturally coming back to their senses. He was always stirring up their emotions, and by so doing, his thoughts became their thoughts, his feelings became their feelings. It's brainwashing 101: Cause your intended victims to become upset, angry, emotionally riled up, and you have your hands on the control levers of their mind.

Children are so vulnerable, like spiritual sponges, that if they're treated with cruelty, if they're degraded sexually, if they're constantly confused and intimidated – and at the same time are indoctrinated with lies denying their neighbors' humanity, and also showered with promises of glory, reward and brotherhood for believing and acting a certain way – well, it's not long before you've got yourself a newly minted jihadist, communist, or Nazi.

More here


NYT ignores the jobless

Americans for Limited Government TimesCheck.com Executive Editor Kevin Mooney today blasted the New York Times for “failing to report on the jobless recovery of the U.S. economy.” “Any administration would celebrate positive economic numbers as vindication for their policies. But not every president has The New York Times as a cheerleader and an apologist,” Mooney explained, adding, “Over the past few weeks The Gray Lady has reported with alacrity on robust Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers. But it has largely overlooked other key indicators that show the recovery to be weak, shallow and jobless.”

Mooney noted that both Presidents George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan experienced strong periods of economic growth during their terms in office that coincided with low inflation and low unemployment, “But, apparently, this did not qualify as news,” Mooney said.

“Whereas The Times went to great lengths to explain away good economic news under Republican Administrations, the approach now is to bury the reality of a jobless recover under rosy GNP numbers,” Mooney explained.

Mooney said what he dubbed “the agenda-based journalism” at The Times “often operates by way of omission. But thanks to the powerful research tools that are the bane of liberals, it is possible to compare and contrast the congenial coverage afforded to President Obama with that of his immediate predecessors.”



Update on the firing of a good prosecutor

One of the mysteries of President Obama's abrupt June 2009 firing of AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin concerns the dispute at the bottom of it all: Walpin's aggressive investigation of the misuse of AmeriCorps dollars by Kevin Johnson, the mayor of Sacramento, California and an Obama political ally. Johnson was accused of misusing federal grants for St. HOPE, the nonprofit educational organization he founded. Walpin found that Johnson and St. HOPE had failed to use the federal money for the purposes specified in their grant, and had also used federally-funded AmeriCorps staff for, among other things, "driving [Johnson] to personal appointments, washing his car, and running personal errands." Walpin's investigation led to Johnson being banned from receiving any more federal dollars.

But then the acting United States Attorney in Sacramento, Lawrence Brown, came to Johnson's aid. Brown made a deal with Johnson, cut Walpin out of the process, helped lift the ban on Johnson receiving federal money, and then attacked Walpin, filing an ethics complaint against him. Without Brown's actions, it's possible that Walpin's investigation might have led to significantly more trouble for Johnson.

What was going on? We now have some new clues. Republican investigators for the Senate Finance Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform have released a supplement to the 62-page report on the Walpin case they filed last November, and it shows that, at the same time he was blocking Walpin, Brown was seeking an appointment from the Obama White House as the permanent U.S. Attorney. In other words, when Brown let Obama ally Kevin Johnson off the hook, he was hoping to get a job from the Obama White House.




Proposal would put Reagan on the $50 bill: "Ronald Reagan is honored by, among other things, an airport, a freeway, an aircraft carrier and — ironically for a critic of big government — one of the biggest federal buildings in Washington. Now, some of the late president’s admirers are launching a new effort to add another honor: printing his likeness on a $50 bill in place of Ulysses S. Grant’s. In polls of presidential scholars, Reagan consistently outranks Grant, said Rep. Patrick T. McHenry (R-N.C.), who introduced legislation to make the change.”

Created or saved or estimated or assumed: "In selling the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — otherwise known as the economic stimulus — to the American public last year, the Obama administration promised that the massive spending package would serve as a sort of Keynesian Red Bull, allowing the tired economy to keep partying hard by pumping up GDP and trapping unemployment in single digits. Or, as the administration put it, the bill was to [’]create or save three to four million jobs over the next two years with over 90 percent of those jobs in the private sector.’ Instead, the economy reacted like it just downed a glass of whiskey and warm milk: Private sector output fell sharply, and last fall, the unemployment rate hit 10.2 percent. Yet the Obama administration continues to defend the stimulus, aided in no small part by legally required reports issued by the Congressional Budget Office. But those reports rely on assumption-packed models that effectively predetermine their outcomes; what they say, in essence, is that the stimulus worked because we assume it did.”

Queer marriages in D.C.: "More than 120 gay couples have received marriage licences in the US capital, Washington DC. The District of Columbia became the sixth US jurisdiction to allow same-sex unions after the Supreme Court threw out a last-minute legal challenge. Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont also issue same-sex licences. Many queued for hours outside Washington’s marriage bureau to be among the first to get their licences.”

CA: Man fights legal battle over his own backyard: "George and Sharlee McNamee have a beautiful home, an ocean view and a bounty of children and grandchildren who invade their house every weekend. The breeze is fresh, the view is stunning and retired life in Corona Del Mar, Calif., is good. But the McNamees wake up every morning fighting for their rights. In this case, the freedom to use a picnic table, shed and shower in their own backyard…. For the last decade, George and Sharlee McNamee have been locked in legal battle with California regulators over the couple’s right to build improvements on their own property, which abuts a coastal zone.”

PSA: Send the census packing: "If you don’t regurgitate your most sensitive facts and foibles onto the census form a federally funded voyeur will knock on your door and insist that you verbally confess to him or her everything that is none of his or her business so he or she can write it all down for you. Enter Jerry Day and Matrix News Network. Jerry Day has created a video that gives you ten perfectly good reasons why you need not respond to the government’s ten census questions, either on paper or in person.”

Destroying “intellectual property” rights in order to save them: "I can understand the arguments for ‘intellectual property.’ I don’t agree with them, but I can understand them. I can understand, despite disagreeing with, the argument that ‘ownership’ of an idea trumps someone else’s right to use his own tangible property the way he sees fit. But now the Copyright Nazis are arguing that their ‘ownership’ of ideas trumps other people’s ownership — wait for it! — of their own ideas. That’s right. The International Intellectual Property Alliance, a powerful umbrella organization that includes the RIAA and MPAA, is arguing that open-source should be classified as a form of piracy!”

Why more consumer protection when too much led to crisis?: "Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, has announced his intention to move ahead on his financial reform plan without the support of the panel’s senior Republicans. Dodd’s desire to create a new consumer finance protection agency is a major reason for this lack of support. Republicans, and moderate Democrats, are right to oppose this new agency. As designed, it would increase the likelihood of future crises rather than reduce them.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


3 March, 2010

Rev. Ian Paisley retires from politics

A most doughty defender of his people. Pic below as he is most likely to be remembered. Even in retirement, his counsel will still be sought. Story here


Pinochet's Legacy: Free, Non-Communist Chile

Gen. Augusto Pinochet was laid to rest after several years of illness, which prevented the Chilean Supreme Court from hearing criminal charges against him. I well recall the dark days of the early 1970s. We had cut and run from Vietnam. The Communists were on the march in Angola and Mozambique. Salvadore Allende had been elected by a minority of the electorate and was busy moving Chile to a Communist state.

The Soviet Union, which seemed invincible, announced the Brezhnev Doctrine. Simply stated it was this: Once a Communist country, always a Communist country. There was no turning back. You could never vote to undo a Communist regime or to overthrow such a regime by other means. If a state turned Communist it would remain a Communist regime forever.

Allende had been elected by a minority of the voters in a three-way split among the electorate. The outright conservative candidate received almost a third of the vote, the centrist candidate received nearly a third of the vote and finally the Communists under the banner of Allende received just over a third of the vote. He interpreted this as a mandate.

Pinochet staged a coup. He bombed the Presidential Palace in Santiago and took over communications in Chile. Pinochet’s saving of Chile from the Communists was ironic. Allende himself had placed the military under the control of Pinochet because he believed the military would be loyal to him. When the moment of truth came, Allende killed himself with a gun given to him by his pal Fidel Castro.

Pinochet took over Chile and ran it with a firm hand. Recognizing that he did not know anything about economics, he turned to the University of Chicago. Chicago economic scholars told him to initiate a free market. He did so. And it worked. Soon Chile was the most prosperous country in the region.

Pinochet did run Chile with an iron fist. Interestingly, when I was giving training seminars in the former Soviet Union, Pinochet’s name frequently came up. Russian leaders wanted my opinion if the Chilean model would be good for Russia.

In due course, Pinochet promulgated a Constitution. He got the voters to ratify it. Then he proposed a referendum question, which if passed would allow him to continue in office for some years. If the resolution were defeated he said he would step down. I was part of a team working with the conservative forces in Chile, in preparation for the vote on the referendum. We were able to have breakfast with Pinochet. He was obviously well educated and clearly was prepared to step down if the referendum were defeated.

We trained the conservative forces and the election was reasonably close but his proposition clearly was defeated. So he stepped down. Chile had prompted the late great Jeane Kirkpatrick to distinguish between totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. The Soviet Union was totalitarian, she opined. Chile was authoritarian.

When I went to Chile I was amazed to find freedom of the press. Far more than half of the media was highly critical of Pinochet. At that time there was no opposition press in the Soviet Union. Indeed, in Chile there was freedom of assembly. All sorts of groups and potential political parties were preparing for that resolution.

I asked Pinochet point blank if indeed he would be prepared to step down in light of defeat of his resolution. He told me he absolutely would do so. He kept his word.

Pinochet should go down in history as a liberator. He, alone, reversed the Brezhnev Doctrine. Today Chile is a prosperous left-of-center nation. People there have health-savings accounts and have better health care than in any other Latin American country. Pinochet made that happen. His free market reforms made Chile into a prosperous nation. He even looked after the poor with medical care.

Yet what he is known for, it seems to me, are the deaths of some 3,000 people and the torture of others. As William F. Buckley reminded us, Pinochet “spoke with passion to say he had not himself known about, let alone authorized any of the random killings and torture laid at his door.”

Perhaps he did not know of these killings and the torture of the living. First, let it be said: He fought a war. And when you fight a war, people will end up dead. Second, to this day there are those who vilify Pinochet. I believe they cannot forgive him for reversing the Brezhnev Doctrine. He showed that you can overthrow a Communist regime and set it on a road to freedom. He was an authoritarian who agreed to step down, albeit reluctantly, when he lost the confidence of the people. Name me one Communist dictator of that era who stepped down when his efforts went astray. Not in Hungary, not in Poland, not in Estonia, not in Czechoslovakia. If something went wrong one Communist was replaced with another.

The left in Chile set out to punish Pinochet. They never succeeded. Either he won an appeal or he became too ill to testify. I know it is heresy to say this but the people of Chile should thank Pinochet. He saved their nation from a brutal Communist “experiment.” The Chilean people should ask the people who lived in the Soviet Empire how it was to live there. No free market. No free press. No freedom of assembly. I will light a candle in memory of Pinochet, the man who had the courage to take on the Soviet Empire.



Support for English Language Unity Act Continues to Grow

Rep. Louie Gohmert became a co-sponsor of the English Language Unity Act yesterday, the sixth Congressman in seven weeks to support official English legislation in the House. The addition of the representative from the First Congressional District of Texas brings the number of bi-partisan supporters of H.R. 997 to 134 members of Congress from 36 states.

“I want to thank Rep. Gohmert for his support for making English the official language of the United States,” said Mauro E. Mujica Chairman of the Board of U.S. English, Inc. “From congressional district to congressional district, we may hear many different languages in our travels, but we know that the English language is the one that unites our diverse society. It is the language of opportunity, the language of education, and as more than 80 percent of Americans agree, should be the official language of the United States.”

During the last Congress (2007-08), Rep. Gohmert was a co-sponsor of the English Language Unity Act (also H.R. 997), voted to reduce multilingualism at the IRS, and voted to protect employers who have English-in-the-Workplace policies. His efforts to promote the common language of English and eliminate divisive multilingual policies earned him an “A in English” Award from U.S. English in May 2008. The three-term representative was also a co-sponsor of the English Language Unity Act in the 109th Congress (2005-06).

The English Language Unity Act would require the United States government to conduct most official business in English. Specifically, H.R. 997 would limit routine government operations to English, while giving government agencies common sense flexibility to protect public health and safety, national security, and to provide for the needs of commerce and criminal justice systems. H.R. 997 is pending in the House Education and Labor Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.



Islamists Play Shell Games with Security

Despite the countless terror attacks perpetrated by their co-religionists, some Muslims still have the chutzpah to demand that security protocols conform to supposed Islamic sensitivities. But like a typical shell game, every time we think we know which procedures they grudgingly will tolerate, we discover that we have been hoodwinked yet again.

Responding to security measures implemented after the attempt to bomb a plane over Detroit on Christmas Day, CAIR characteristically charged that "the new guidelines, under which anyone traveling from or through 13 Muslim-majority nations will be required to go through enhanced screening techniques before boarding flights, … amount to religious and ethnic profiling." CAIR's proposed alternative: "First look at behavior, not at faith or skin color. Then spend what it takes to obtain more bomb-sniffing dogs, to install more sophisticated bomb-detection equipment, and to train security personnel in identifying the behavior of real terror suspects."

All are fine ideas. But in reality, Islamists oppose each of them:

Scrutinizing behavior. Consider the "flying imams" imbroglio, where six Muslims who seemed to exhibit "the behavior of real terror suspects" were removed from a plane before takeoff in 2006. Passengers and crew members became alarmed when the men spoke loudly in Arabic, refused to sit in assigned seats, and requested unneeded seatbelt extenders. How did CAIR respond? By alleging religious discrimination and suing everyone in sight — with some success. True, the imams were fingered originally by alert citizens rather than dedicated security officers. But should we believe that CAIR's reaction would have been different otherwise?

Bomb-sniffing dogs. Given that some Muslims see dogs as unclean, using them for security purposes often provokes Islamist criticism. Britain has experienced a litany of canine controversies, while a prominent Canadian Muslim recently voiced concerns about dogs patrolling Vancouver. The issue of police dogs also arose when a Detroit-based radical imam was killed in an October FBI raid. According to the Detroit News, the attorney representing his widow "said it was needlessly confrontational to send a dog after Abdullah because Muslims view dogs as unclean and anyone attacked by a dog could react violently"; an FBI canine was shot dead by the imam. How long until bomb-sniffing dogs in U.S. airports face objections?

Bomb-detection equipment. Body scanners are about as sophisticated as it gets, but now we know that these, too, run afoul of Islamist sensibilities. "The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) emphasizes that a general and public use of such scanners is against the teachings of Islam, natural law, and all religions and cultures that stand for decency and modesty," the group explains in a fatwa issued on February 9. CAIR, which had championed "sophisticated bomb-detection equipment" just a month earlier, backed the ruling.

The shell game continues, with the Fiqh Council offering yet another idea: "FCNA appreciates the alternate provision of pat-down search" and advises Muslims to avail themselves of this option over the body scanners. After all, no Muslims balk at being touched, right?




Democrats ready to break Obama's tax promises: "Tax increases may be necessary to rein in $12 trillion in federal debt, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Monday. Hoyer emphasized the need to reform Social Security and Medicare, but he also made it clear that raising taxes will have to be on the table. “No one likes raising revenue, and understandably so,” Hoyer said in an address at the Brookings Institution. “But if you’re going to buy, you need to pay. “If need be, I am hopeful that both parties will agree to look at revenues as part of the solution — not as a gateway to higher spending, but as part of a compromise that cuts spending and balances the budget,” he added. Hoyer, a voice for centrists in the House leadership, said reining in record debt requires a combination of spending cuts and tax increases."

US Senate votes unemployment benefits, highway funds : "The Senate on Tuesday passed a $10 billion measure to maintain unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless and provide stopgap funding for highway programs after a holdout Republican dropped stalling tactics that had generated a Washington firestorm. Kentucky Republican Jim Bunning had been holding up action for days but conceded after pressure intensified with Monday’s cutoff of road funding and extended unemployment benefits and health insurance subsidies for the jobless.”

CA: Jerry moonbeam officially enters race for governor: "Asserting that California needs ’someone with an insider’s knowledge but an outsider’s mind’ to pull the state out of its economic doldrums, state Attorney General Jerry Brown strode into the governor’s race Tuesday morning after taking months to make the inevitable official. … Brown, the son of former two-term Gov. Pat Brown, has served as secretary of state, governor, mayor of Oakland and state attorney general in a career that spans 40 years and three short-circuited runs for the presidency.”

UK: Cleric issues anti-terror fatwa : "A leading Islamic scholar has issued a fatwa in Britain condemning ;terrorists; as the enemies of Islam, in a bid to deter young Muslims from extremism. Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri, head of the Minhaj ul-Quran religious and educational organisation, said suicide bombers were destined for hell as he released his 600-page edict in London on Tuesday.”

Panic time for liberals : "Liberals seem to be getting bent out of shape over the fact that increasing numbers of people are challenging their statist paradigm. They’re suggesting that anyone who questions their beloved welfare-state socialism must be crazy, insane, irrational, greedy, selfish, and evil.”

Obama's bipolar energy policy : "Supporters of generating electricity with nuclear power cheered after learning that President Obama had included federal guarantees in next fiscal year’s budget to clear the way for starting work on the first two new U.S. nuclear power plant in decades. The same people jeered when they also saw that the president proposed eliminating funding for a national nuclear waste storage facility at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, originally scheduled to open this year, but delayed by congressional diversions of monies appropriated for the site to other spending programs. So with one hand, Washington plans to facilitate the construction of a new nuclear power plant by shielding owners from liability for future accidents, but with its other hand, doesn’t want to finish building a repository to safely store nuclear waste.”

Obama used the Post office as an example of a government-run business: "In some rather believable news, the Postmaster General has announced that the Post Office could lose $238 Billion over the next decade. According to the Washington Post, "The U.S. Postal Service estimates $238 billion in losses in the next 10 years if lawmakers, postal regulators and unions don't give the mail agency more flexibility in setting delivery schedules, price increases and labor costs." Fiscal Conservatives and libertarians have long opined on how the Post Office was the perfect example of why Government does not know best when it comes to business sense. And now, even the Postmaster General, John E. Potter, is aknowledging the inefficiencies that are created by the Federal Government and Unions" [A foretaste of Obamacare]

ACORN Housing Boom: "As ACORN gears up to use your tax dollars to get involved in the 2010 Census and influence future elections, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is conducting a "massive" probe of ACORN Housing Corp., a source familiar with the ongoing investigation says. The HUD probe comes as ACORN Housing, the best-funded of ACORN's affiliates, participates in the ACORN network-wide rebranding aimed at duping funders and the public and allowing ACORN to continue to devour government grants. ACORN Housing is a key component of the far-flung ACORN empire of activism which has long used its housing affiliate as a piggy bank -- so it's too important to be allowed to collapse. Although ACORN is now converting state chapters into new shell corporations operated out of the same old ACORN offices and staffed by many of the same people, ACORN Housing opted simply to change its name. ACORN's latest public relations ruse may give it an opportunity to take in untold millions of taxpayer dollars under cover of darkness just in time to cause trouble during the 2012 election cycle."

A Stern Word on Obama's Debt Appointment: "Barack Obama announced his appointments to the Bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform this past Friday, February 26th, nominating none other than Andy Stern. Stern is one of the White House's most frequent visitors, and President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), an organization with close ties to ACORN and a substantial Democratic campaign contributor. But for a bipartisan panel, supposedly created to "improve the fiscal situation," and "achieve fiscal sustainability," Stern must have some qualifications that make him an ideal addition to this panel. Right? As J. Justin Wilson, Managing Director for the Center for Union Facts told LaborPains.com last week, "Stern and his unions know a thing or two about government debt, as they do their fair share to contribute to it. The SEIU has single-handedly driven more than a few states to the edge of fiscal insolvency. For instance, in 2009, SEIU members in California earned wage increases nearly double the national average, despite the fact that California's economy is in one of the worst in the nation".

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


2 March, 2010

GOP Should Learn from Ron Paul’s CPAC Victory

In the days following Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s decisive win over former governors Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin in the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll, left-leaning networks, predictably, treated the event as further proof that tea party activists are taking over the Republican Party. That was to be expected. Liberal smear tactics, particularly those which rely on outright lies, are never justified; however, their derisive reaction to the poll should be interpreted as a nerve struck. A televised view of a crowd of young, enthused conservatives is bound to disturb the opposition.

But conservative networks —one in particular— have no excuse for their after-the-fact “spin” treatment of the event, portraying it as marginal and irrelevant to the 2012 presidential race. One commentator conveniently neglected to mention that Paul is a Republican, instead referring to him as a “libertarian.”

One must wonder; do Republicans want to attain victory in the next two elections? Does the GOP want a future, or would it prefer to ignore the concerns of young voters, engage in internal bickering about an ideologically inconsistent platform, defend party insiders from fresh, new challengers, and eventually fizzle out like a defective bottle rocket?

Increasingly, this seems to be the case. Rep. Paul was scorned by his fellow Republicans during the 2008 primary for his “conspiracy theorizing” about an imminent financial collapse. Within months, the theory became reality, but by then Republicans had already chosen the lukewarm McCain, who would soon prove to be a losing choice.

Paul is not—cannot be—the future of the GOP. He will turn 75 in August, and would be 77 if elected in 2012; Reagan’s age when he left office. But the real future of conservatism, voters under 30, love the man.

More precisely, they love his beliefs. His ideology, which is based on the principles of limited government outlined by the Constitution, appeals to a large group within the Republican Party that is disgusted by big-government conservatism, which itself is a ridiculous, contradictory notion. It does not matter how angry this group is at Obama’s policies; if, in 2012, the GOP puts up another flimsy candidate who does not make limited government a key plank of his platform, these “Ron Paul Republicans,” tea partiers, and independents could easily vote for various third-party candidates, or simply stay home out of frustration.

They would be justified. A party that compromises with anti-constitutional progressivism in the hopes of appealing to political moderates is not worthy of respect. Or votes. It is part of the problem, not the solution. Independent voters are leaning toward the right, temporarily, in reaction to a calamitous Democratic administration, but it will take more than a vague sense of antiestablishment anger for the GOP to regain control of the federal government, and reinstitute conservatism and common sense.

Here’s some food for thought for Republicans: Ron Paul is a digital politician in a digital world. His creative use of YouTube and other online networking tools has bridged a gap between 20-somethings and a 74-year-old man, proving that true conservatism is neither out-of-touch nor outdated.

McCain did not connect with the nation’s youth, while Obama did, provoking a record turnout of 18- to 29-year-old voters. Would the outcome of the 2008 election have been different, had Obama faced the dynamic, independent, web-savvy Paul, rather than the wishy-washy, semi-conservative McCain?

Would we, sixteen months later, face a threatening socialist attack on our precious principles and once-great nation? Or would we be experiencing a refreshing revival of liberty and prosperity?



Ending welfare reform

Barack Obama came to the presidency promising to be America's first post-partisan president. It is, therefore, ironic that one of his signature achievements has been to roll back one of the great bipartisan triumphs of the last two decades. Under the guise of helping unemployed Americans in a tough economy, the Obama administration and its congressional allies are reversing the 1996 welfare reforms that have been lauded as an overwhelming success by Republicans and Democrats alike for lifting millions of Americans from poverty.

Before welfare reform, under the federal assistance program called Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), the federal government gave the states more money for every family they added to their welfare rolls. Not surprisingly, this system gave states a disincentive to help people transition from unemployment and dependence on government to work and independence. AFDC came under heavy criticism across the ideological spectrum for producing perverse incentives. These included out-of-wedlock births and perpetual unemployment. Recipients had little incentive to get off welfare; in fact, they had a disincentive to do so, because they could get paid indefinitely for not working.

Reforming the broken federal welfare system became a cornerstone of the Contract with America, which helped Republicans recapture Congress in 1994. Premised on reducing dependency on government, the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) passed Congress and was signed by President Clinton in 1996.

PRWORA replaced AFDC with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which drew on successful state-level innovations and emphasized, as the name suggests, time-limited financial aid. Under TANF, states got a block grant from the federal government, which gave states an incentive to cut their welfare rolls and get people into jobs. The reforms included requiring work after two years of benefits, implementing a lifetime limit of five years on benefits, encouraging two-parent families and married childbearing, and enhancing enforcement of child support.

Several further reforms have been made since 1996. Conditions for receiving welfare have been tightened, and states now enroll more welfare recipients with physical or mental disabilities. Some states even require welfare applicants to participate in employment counseling or job training as a prerequisite to receiving benefits. PRWORA was reauthorized in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.

Welfare reform has been an overwhelming success. Since 1996, welfare caseloads have decreased 70 percent, which translates into 8.8 million fewer people dependent on government. Child-poverty rates dropped, particularly among blacks and Hispanics. Teen pregnancies have (until recently) decreased, and child-support collections have increased.

Despite its success, or perhaps because of it, President Obama and his allies are doing all they can to destroy welfare reform. Mr. Obama's $862 billion stimulus package last February essentially abolished welfare reform by subsidizing the expansion of welfare rolls. The federal government now pays states 80 percent of the cost for each new family they add to their welfare rolls, a move that eliminates states' incentive to push welfare recipients into the job force. Partly as a consequence of the infusion of federal welfare funds, welfare rolls increased in 2009 for the first time since PRWORA was enacted, growing 5 percent as 200,000 more Americans were added.

Welfare encompasses not just cash assistance, but also food stamps, housing, Medicaid and scores of other programs across more than a dozen federal agencies. And Mr. Obama is committed to expanding them all. According to a September study from the Heritage Foundation:

"In his first two years in office, President Barack Obama will increase annual federal [welfare] spending by one-third from $522 billion to $697 billion. The combined two-year increase will equal almost $263 billion. After adjusting for inflation, this increase is 2 1/2 times greater than any previous increase in federal welfare spending in U.S. history."

Mr. Obama's welfare increases are not temporary. In fact, over the next decade, Mr. Obama will spend $10.3 trillion on welfare. That equals, according to the study, "approximately $250,000 for each person currently living in poverty in the U.S., or $1 million for a poor family of four."

Meanwhile, the president's newly proposed 2011 budget adds a new "emergency fund" to TANF at a cost of $2.5 billion.

The unraveling of welfare reform shouldn't be a surprise at a time when its adversaries have gathered power both in Congress and in the Oval Office. Many top Democrats in Congress voted against PRWORA, and in 1997 Mr. Obama, on the floor of the Illinois state Senate, said, "I probably would not have supported the federal [PRWORA] legislation."

The liberal justification for all this welfare spending is, in essence, that desperate times call for desperate measures. Or as Mr. Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, famously put it: "Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is [the recession is] an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before."

There's nothing wrong with enacting bold solutions to alleviate serious crises. But Mr. Obama and his allies are exploiting economic anxiety to destroy a successful law in pursuit of their goal of massively and permanently expanding the welfare state. We know why. Big-government proponents embrace both the power of the federal government and the idea that millions of Americans ought to be dependent on its largesse. It's time to return to our Founders' love for small government. More is not always better.



The U.S. Department of Labor should be abolished -- is of no benefit to the workers

By Rob Schwarzwalder

I was a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union for about seven years. In high school and graduate school, and for a couple of years thereafter, I loaded trucks, moved pallets and honed the fine art of rapidly throwing cans into paper bags.

So, when I suggest that the U.S. Department of Labor should be abolished, I do not do so with the airiness of an ideological theoretician. Working for hours in icy freezer-lockers, on the one hand, and on sweltering loading docks, on the other, tends to temper uninformed zeal.

First things first: The existence of the Labor Department has no basis in the Constitution. The Founders never envisioned a federal agency that "fosters and promotes the welfare of the job seekers, wage earners, and retirees of the United States by improving their working conditions, advancing their opportunities for profitable employment, protecting their retirement and health care benefits, helping employers find workers, strengthening free collective bargaining, and tracking changes in employment, prices, and other national economic measurements."

Got that? It's Labor's formal mission statement. It means that Uncle Sam is going to intrude endlessly into every facet of American private enterprise. And while some of Labor's purposes are noble ones, they (a) lack constitutional support and (b) are better done at the state and local level.

This, fundamentally, is a point of departure between left and right: Liberals believe that the federal government should superimpose itself on American society at large, and conservatives don't. The latter, of whom I am one, believe that the Founders were right in their argument that the functions of the federal government should be few and targeted. A gigantic, controlling and threatening federal employment bureaucracy was not one of them.

Second, state governments actually do serve a purpose. That's a shocking assertion to my friends on the left, certainly, but James Madison - aka the "Father of the Constitution" - was characteristically correct when, in 1794, he said, "The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general."

States have the authority to enact minimum wages, to subsidize private industry and regulate its behaviors, to hear complaints by employees against employers and ensure workplace safety. The federal government, constitutionally, does not. And it should not: It's too big and cannot do these kinds of things with particular efficiency or without arrogantly disturbing myriad local and regional entrepreneurial efforts and regulations.

There are 54 departments of labor (or the equivalents thereof) in our states and territories and the District of Columbia. Are they so incompetent, so heartless and so simply stupid that they cannot address issues of employee health, racial or religious discrimination, medical insurance, etc.? This is, evidently, the underlying if unspoken presumption of the governing elite within the Capital Beltway.

Third, consider some basic issues of efficiency: Why does Labor's Bureau of International Labor Affairs (backwardly acronymed ILAB) have a human-trafficking division when such a division already exists within the State Department? For that matter, why does the United States have an ILAB to begin with? Aren't Iceland and Ireland and Angola and Andorra capable of working with their own work forces?



BrookesNews Update

Why the US economy could suffer another contraction : The US economy is now in a situation that is unique in its monetary history: a massive and totally unprecedented expansion in its monetary base followed by a contraction in bank deposits. Only an utterly incompetent Democratic administration could pull off a stunt like this
Does it make sense to resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act? : The policy makers of the Fed are of the view that they can somehow navigate the economy toward the path of stable economic growth. Their navigation via money pumping leads to fluctuations in the money supply's rate of growth. This in turn leads to the boom-bust cycles that the Fed supposedly is trying to smooth out or eliminate all together
The US recession and the myth of 1937 : The current situation has many people referring back to the Great Depression, particularly the 1937 downturn. As usual they are drawing the wrong conclusions. The lesson that so many have failed to grasp is that the Great Depression is a tragic testimony as to what can happen to a country when governments defy economic laws
Carbon taxes energy production and technology: more green nonsense : Trying to run an advanced economy on alternative energy sources would be an economic and social disaster. Moreover, the idea that raising the cost of energy will induce the emergence of new technologies could only be proposed by people completely ignorant of economic history and the history of technology
Green policies are laying down the foundations for future famines : The current frigid conditions affecting the Northern Hemisphere may not be an isolated weather event but may be a harbinger of natural climate change. In the meantime Australian politicians are deliberately sabotaging Australia's capacity to produce food
Has the US Department of Justice been turned into the Department of Jihad? : It has been revealed that Attorney General Eric Holder is knowingly putting extreme leftwing lawyers on the DOJ payroll, lawyers who volunteered their services pro bono to defend terrorists and are still doing everything within their power to have these mass murderers released. Holder's old firm of Covington & Burling has an appalling reputation for sympathizing with terrorists. Any sensible person would consider this firm's actions as bordering on treason
Obama: America's first cargo cult president : How much is obfuscation or deliberate deception? Are the political, educational and punditry high priests and priestesses true believers? Or do they just perpetuate the myths to perpetuate themselves? Is there a way to tell? To distinguish between the cultists and those who are not? Would it make any difference if we could?
I was a 'useful idiot' : The term 'useful idiot' was originally coined by Russian mass-murder Lenin, referring to blind defenders and apologists for the Soviet Union in the Western democracies. The most famous of these useful idiots was New York Times Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


1 March, 2010

A small note to blogspot bloggers

It is a sad truth that all blogging platforms seem to have their limitations and problems. I have both Wordpress and blogspot blogs and on the whole I prefer blogspot, which is hosted by Google. Most Wordpress templates ("themes") disallow some html commands, which is quite mad. What they hope to gain by that is beyond me. One of my Wordpress templates won't even allow me to post videos!

But Google are always trying new ideas towards optimizing their processes and that occasionally hits blogspot -- not as often as it used to do, thankfully. Some of their past "improvements" were quite disastrous initially.

The latest brainstorm appears to be that blogspot puts a limit on the length of a page that it will display. The limit is large so it does not affect individual posts but it does affect archives (the record of your past posts). If you are using an older template half your archives may disappear. But with a more recent template you may get as little of a quarter of your archives for a given month followed by a link to "previous posts". They seem to have adopted that idea from Wordpress, a feature of Wordpress that I have always disliked. It does make your archives a lot harder to access.

I save all my archives to disk and post them in month-long slabs elsewhere so some other bloggers may want to adopt that practice.


Neuroscientists find brain system behind general intelligence

Which doesn't exist, according to Leftists

A collaborative team of neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology, the University of Iowa, the University of Southern California, and the Autonomous University of Madrid have mapped the brain structures that affect general intelligence.

The study, to be published the week of February 22 in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, adds new insight to a highly controversial question: What is intelligence, and how can we measure it?

The research team included Jan Gläscher, first author on the paper and a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech, and Ralph Adolphs, the Bren Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and professor of biology. The Caltech scientists teamed up with researchers at the University of Iowa and USC to examine a uniquely large data set of 241 brain-lesion patients who all had taken IQ tests. The researchers mapped the location of each patient's lesion in their brains, and correlated that with each patient's IQ score to produce a map of the brain regions that influence intelligence.

"General intelligence, often referred to as Spearman's g-factor, has been a highly contentious concept," says Adolphs. "But the basic idea underlying it is undisputed: on average, people's scores across many different kinds of tests are correlated. Some people just get generally high scores, whereas others get generally low scores. So it is an obvious next question to ask whether such a general ability might depend on specific brain regions."

The researchers found that, rather than residing in a single structure, general intelligence is determined by a network of regions across both sides of the brain. "One of the main findings that really struck us was that there was a distributed system here. Several brain regions, and the connections between them, were what was most important to general intelligence," explains Gläscher.

"It might have turned out that general intelligence doesn't depend on specific brain areas at all, and just has to do with how the whole brain functions," adds Adolphs. "But that's not what we found. In fact, the particular regions and connections we found are quite in line with an existing theory about intelligence called the 'parieto-frontal integration theory.' It says that general intelligence depends on the brain's ability to integrate —to pull together— several different kinds of processing, such as working memory."

The researchers say the findings will open the door to further investigations about how the brain, intelligence, and environment all interact.



Debra Medina, new star of America's right, is firing up the race for Texas governor

Lytle is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it kind of town, one of hundreds that dot the vast flat ranchlands of southern Texas. A smear of houses by the main highway between San Antonio and Laredo. Population: 2,383. The first streets only got paved here in the years after the second world war. A sewage system took a little longer, not being built until the 1960s. In short, Lytle, Texas, has never been big enough to have much impact on the politics of the Lone Star state. And few Texas politicians have ever paid much attention to it.

Until Debra Medina, that is. When Medina breezed into Lytle's community hall the locals found themselves confronted with a Texan version of Sarah Palin. She wore a sharp scarlet skirt suit, librarian-style glasses and a puffed-up hairdo. More than 60 Lytle residents had gathered to meet her, a hefty turnout on a weekday at 11am for a Republican primary election in the race to be Texas governor. Medina has become a political phenomenon in Texas. Emerging as a genuine star of the rightwing populist Tea Party movement, she delivers a fiery message of slashing taxes and the abolition of almost all forms of federal government, and issues dire warnings that President Obama is taking America down a slippery slope to Soviet-style communism.

It's working. Previously unheard of by the vast majority of Texans, Medina has set the race for governor on fire, upsetting the primary contest between the incumbent, Rick Perry, and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Those gathered to see Medina in Lytle loved her. Young and old, men and women, Latino and white, listened with rapt attention as she outlined her agenda and asked them to back her in this week's first round of voting. If she can beat Hutchison into second place, she can secure a runoff against Perry. That would raise the possibility – distant but real – of a Tea Party activist capturing the government of the second biggest state in America. The Tea Party movement would have gone from being a bunch of ragtag protesters to heading one of the largest single economies in the world. "If we can change politics as usual in Texas, then we can change politics as usual across America. This is not just about Texas, but about changing the whole country," Medina told the Observer before addressing her supporters in Lytle.

She is not alone in that ambition. Across America other extreme candidates have emerged on the Republican right to challenge familiar party figures with a fiery mix of Tea Party-inspired populism. In Arizona, Senator John McCain is facing a tough re-election fight against a former congressman, JD Hayworth, who has expressed public doubts as to whether Obama was born a legitimate American citizen. In Florida the moderate Republican governor, Charlie Crist, is lagging badly in his own primary election to rightwing challenger Marco Rubio, who has the backing of local Tea Party groups.

On the right of US politics, this is big stuff. Instead of forcing mainstream Republicans to woo them for their votes, the rightwingers are now bidding for power. It is an attempt at revolution that could have huge meaning for America and the world, especially given the disastrous showing of Democrats in recent polls and elections. Medina knows this. After her speech she ended with a plea to her audience. "We can win this race," she said, then held up her hand and squeezed two fingers together. "It is this close."

Later that night, at a firemen's association hall in the much larger city of San Antonio, Medina's face stared down from a huge screen as she delivered a long policy monologue. To her audience she was the very antithesis of establishment power: a heroic revolutionary, out to destroy government and bring power to the people. "She is not a career politician. Everything she is saying will make Texas better than what it is," said Sergeant Shawn Mendoza, 30, a veteran of three tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. A few minutes later the flesh-and-blood version of Medina entered the hall. She got a standing ovation before she had said a word.

She began her stump speech again, still wearing the outfit she had in Lytle. But when it comes to speeches Medina is no Sarah Palin. She has no need to write on her hand to remember her talking points. Instead her speech was a complex walk through her extreme anti-government philosophy, citing sources as varied as the Austrian school of economics, St Augustine and modern French philosophers. She said she wanted to get rid of property taxes and allow Texans to do whatever they wanted with anything they owned, whether that was dig for oil or build an extension. There was, she said, no constitutional basis for a federal Department of Education or an Environmental Protection Agency or the Federal Reserve. Texas should assert its rights almost as a nation-state, controlling over its own National Guard units. The disdain for government was visceral. The American way, she said, was simple. "There are two rights essential to freedom: private property and gun ownership."

Such thoughts find fertile ground in Texas. This state has always had a swaggering, independent streak and a dislike for too many laws. Medina was born on a farm near the small town of Beeville in south Texas. She speaks with a homely Texas accent and worked as a nurse before entering politics at county level in the 1990s. Her bid for governor was largely ignored by the media as she crisscrossed the state for 13 months, visiting small town after small town. Gradually she crept up in the polls and forced her way into the televised debates, where she performed strongly. Campaign money began to pour in. One poll puts her as high as 24%, just behind Hutchison and within reach of catching her and forcing Perry into a runoff.

Medina believes she is not really in third place, citing the fact that the polls only telephone previous Republican primary voters, whereas she is bringing in thousands of new supporters. "I feel fantastic. I think we can win this," she said in Lytle.

More HERE (The article is from the Leftist "Guardian" so the rest of the article is mainly snarky comments and unsubstantiated assertions)


The coming catastrophe

By David Warren, writing from Canada

A spectre is haunting Europe, and America -- the spectre of Keynesianism finally gone nuts. What began, not very innocently, as a suggestion that governments should run deficits in bad times, and surpluses in good times, gradually "evolved." In the next phase, governments tried to balance at least the operating account during the best of times. In Phase 3, governments ran deficits by habit during the good times, but much bigger "stimulus" deficits during the bad times. We are now entering Phase 4.

The U.S. national debt now exceeds $12.3 trillion in a $14.2-trillion economy, and the U.S. government is now piling it on with unprecedented new deficits. The U.S. Treasury's borrowing requirement is, as it were, coming up against the Great Wall of China.

Little things, such as the heart of the U.S. space program, are being gutted to make way for metastasizing social security entitlements and debt service payments that will soon swamp the entire federal budget -- thus requiring the elimination of more little things such as the army, navy and air force. At some point the entitlements simply can't be paid, without hyperinflation.

I am not exaggerating. The American debt is now at levels that ring bells at the International Monetary Fund. And as the world's biggest debtor rapidly accelerates its borrowing, the fiscal carrying capacity of the rest of the planet comes into question.

There are two large reasons why we cannot afford to be smug up here. The first is that after adding the "entitlement" heritage of our provincial governments to the federal debt load, our position is not much better. The second is that even if it were much better, the tsunami coming from south of the border will anyway sweep all our dikes away.

The Obama administration's financial projections are extremely optimistic, yet even if they all come true, the U.S. debt will continue to grow unsustainably. The kind of alarm falsely placed in "global warming" would more usefully be directed toward the remarkable cooling effect this will have, as all our fiscal and demographic trends converge. For this is a predictable future; an issue where the numbers correspond to real things, not to mere speculation.

We can already see where the U.S. is headed, because Iceland and Greece are showing the way. Both have now passed a point of no return, and both are being followed down that plughole by Britain and several other European countries that will probably precede the U.S. into outright bankruptcy. The State of California also gives some clues.

While an optimist would say that we are witnessing the final demise of the welfare state, and good riddance, a pessimist would observe that everything must go down with it. Moreover, as we have seen from the history of Germany and other countries, fiscal catastrophe accentuates every latent threat to public order.

For our governments have created vast bureaucracies, employing immense numbers whose livelihoods depend entirely (whether they realize it or not) upon the capacity of profit-earning people to pay constantly increasing taxes. It should have been grasped, decades ago, that the constant transfer of resources from the productive to the unproductive must eventually tip the ship. And when it does, real people go over the side who get angry when they are thrown in the water. There are consequences to that anger.

The idea that we can spend our way out of a debt crisis -- or what I called above "Keynesianism gone nuts" -- has already been rejected by the Tea Party movement in the U.S., and has always been rejected by voters of conservative tendency. They know what's wrong with the present order, and have an important teaching function to the rest of the electorate, which doesn't get it yet.

But more urgently, we are in need of a positive conception of how to rebuild the economy and society, when Nanny State collapses under her own weight. For yelling "run!" is only a short-term solution.




TN: Lynn pushes state sovereignty: "State Rep. Susan Lynn says she isn’t trying to fight the political battles of the Civil War again. But she isn’t afraid to push to restore Tennessee’s ’sovereignty.’ Lynn believes it’s time Tennesseans reworked their relationship with the federal government. And she says one of her jobs as a state legislator is to open that dialogue, even if it means sparking confrontation with political leaders in Washington, D.C. ‘For a very long time, the federal government has been growing and growing and becoming a bigger and bigger deal,’ Lynn said last week. ‘Maybe it’s time to pull out the document.’ … With libertarian outrage toward the federal government seemingly on the rise … Lynn has become one of its foremost champions in the Tennessee legislature.”

Report: Not just Toyota with acceleration problems: "The challenge of the rogue gas pedal is apparently not unique to Toyota. In the five years ending last September, all of the six largest carmakers operating in the US marketplace had at least 50 complaints about unintended acceleration filed against them, according to Edmunds.com, a provider of auto industry information based in Santa Monica, Calif. Toyota had the most complaints: 532 during the five-year period, or 4.81 per 100,000 vehicles sold by the company or its Lexis or Scion brands. But some other carmakers also drew numerous complaints, according to the analysis of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).”

Intervention and economic crisis: "No supporter of the market economy could have been surprised when the recent financial crisis was inevitably blamed on ‘capitalism’ and ‘deregulation.’ The free market, we were told, was a recipe for financial instability. ‘Advocates of the free market must confront the fact that both the Great Depression and the current financial chaos were preceded by years of laissez-faire economic policies,’ wrote Katrina van den Heuvel, editor of The Nation, and author Eric Schlossel, in September 2008.”

Social justice, the new feudal capitalism: "Social justice is a feel-good term that stands to, as Obama has promised, ‘Fundamentally change our economy.’ Social justice has undergone a transformation in the past fifteen years; it has been adopted by the left as a talking point that can put a friendlier face on more politically charged terms like ‘income redistribution’ and ‘property redistribution.’ But for social justice to become a reality, it is necessary for the middle class to take a step back on the economic scale. Rest assured, our social engineers in Congress and the Administration will sacrifice the continued growth of our middle class for their vision of economic egalitarianism that, in the name of sharing wealth, will consolidate power in a new elite class.”

Census confidentiality? The check is in the mail: "Some promises shouldn’t be taken seriously. ‘The check is in the mail,’ or ‘Of course I’ll respect you in the morning,’ or ‘I won’t raise taxes.’ To that list should be added, ‘Your answers to census questions will remain completely confidential.’ Already this census season, many of homeless people have refused to divulge personal information to census takers. Some of the homeless have fears that their personal plight will be revealed to far-away relatives.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

Why are Leftists always talking about hate? Because it fills their own hearts

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left.

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among well-informed people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists hate success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state - capitalism frees them.

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn't lived that life.

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Conservatives, on the other hand could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely the overwhelming Leftism of the Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931-2005: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average black adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. He pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsea ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsea but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

Although I have been an atheist for all my adult life, I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

My academic background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here